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Humorous response to anti-Arab racism goes viral

Zizo Abul Hawa returns to his Tel Aviv apartment to find a notice in the stairwell warning tenants of ‘an Arab in the building’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An Arab resident of Tel Aviv takes a selfie in front of an anti-Arab notice hung in his building's stairwell on October 12, 2015. (Screen shot: Facebook)
An Arab resident of Tel Aviv takes a selfie in front of an anti-Arab notice hung in his building's stairwell on October 12, 2015. (Screen shot: Facebook)

The humorous response of an Arab resident of Tel Aviv, who returned home Monday to find a notice hanging in the stairwell of his apartment building warning neighbors of “an Arab in the building,” has gone viral on social media.

“Due to the security situation I think that we cannot afford to be indifferent and do nothing about the fact that we have an Arab in the building,” the anonymous letter opened before naming Zizo Abul Hawa in boldface type.

“I don’t want to disqualify him outright, but I think it’s very important to recognize this issue and vet him. It’s our right to take care of ourselves and our families and to feel safe in our building,” it read.

The announcement then invited tenants to discuss the issue at a meeting scheduled for later this week.

Hawa took a selfie in front of notice and uploaded it to his Facebook page with the caption: “Yo! I’m coming and I’ll bring muffins!”

In a matter of hours, his post garnered thousands of likes and shares on the social media outlet.

“When I saw it, I just laughed, even though I know it’s not really funny to anyone,” Hawa told Channel 2. “I’m used to situations like this, and I am the kind of person who tries to take things humorously. Otherwise, what else do I have?”

Shortly after, another anonymous notice written in response to the first, found its way to the building’s stairwell.

“Due to the security situation we cannot afford to be indifferent in the face of suspicion, xenophobia and fear,” the alternate notice read. “I invite you to a party, a revolution of joy, because we’re all family.”

On Facebook, Hawa thanked his friends and other social media users for his support. “Thanks to one stupid person, we had an orgy of love instead,” he wrote.

“Ignorance and racism can take over our lives, and I feel sorry for them [the author of the notice] ultimately,” Hawa told the TV station. “They’re a joke, and anyway, I only got messages of support and encouragement following the post, but I really didn’t think it would end up being such a big deal.”

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