Posters reading “Jews only employ Jews” were spotted near the entrance to Jerusalem Friday, three days after two Palestinians killed five Israelis in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.
Above the slogan in smaller letters, at the top of the Israeli flag-shaped poster, it reads: “Biblical law determines” and at the bottom it reads: “Did you know?! The terrorists that committed the massacre in Har Nof – were employed in the synagogue and its surroundings.” One of the attackers indeed was reported to have worked in a grocery store next to the synagogue.
Whoever crafted the racist message grounded it in both religious scripture and practical empiricism.
Another poster found in the same area reads: “Employed an Arab? You endangered a Jew!”
These messages echo the decision by the mayor of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon a day earlier to ban Israeli Arab construction workers from jobs in and around schools in the name of security. The legality of his decision is in question and politicians from across the right-wing spectrum were quick to denounce the move as unacceptable. Prime Minister Netanyahu said discrimination won’t be tolerated, while Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett said that 99.9 percent of Israeli Arab citizens are loyal (read: reliable cheap labor).
Reactions were so strong and across the board that it honestly felt at one point as if the mayor’s ban was a ploy to enable all these politicians the opportunity to resolutely declare to the Israeli public that the country is not anti-Arab – even as it prepares to push forward on Sunday the “Jewish nation state” bill in a version that does not guarantee equal rights for its non-Jewish citizens (the 20 percent of the population that is Palestinian).
However, a poll by Israel’s Channel 10 showed that 58 percent of Israelis supported the move (with 32 percent against), and several Ashkelon residents told TV reporters they are in favor. One young mother said she felt the move made her feel safer dropping her kids off at school, adding: “I have no problem with the Arab sector. Some of them are perfectly fine.” Another said, “I’d rather be racist than be a victim.”
UPDATE: I discovered a Facebook page called “Fighting for our country, for ourselves” which is filled with anti-Arab messaging, including this photo taken at a store (location unknown) with a sign reading: “Arabs not employed here.” Many comments from Israelis on the photo express disgust and disdain, and while the photo has over 8,500 likes, the page itself only has around 600.