When ‘unsuitable’ becomes a synonym for ‘Arab’

The original version of this article contained a racist slur in both the headline and text. Following an editorial review, the headline has been changed and the expletive struck out from the body of the text.

I hope that headline pissed you off. I really do.Because that’s how I pretty much felt this morning, when I picked up the paper. I was reading the coverage of the approval of a bill proposal to allow small communal settlements in the Negev and the Galilee to reject would-be newcomers, if they are unsuitable on various grounds for life in the community. “Unsuitable”, means, of course, “Arab”.

Not that I’m surprised by the bill being approved. Nah, not these days. Not in today’s Israel.

But what always seems to get to me is how easily racists have risen to power here. And how easily they can say whatever they want, now that they hold the reins.

The Klu-Klux-Klan never took over the White House, and I don’t recall any guys in white hoods sitting in the Senate. Sure, there have been U.S. politicians with connections and dark pasts. But at least they made the effort to cover it up.

In Israel they’re in power – and they’re loving every minute of it. David Rotem of Yisrael Beitenu, can say just about anything. And his party is a senior coalition partner.

During the Knesset committee session yesterday, Rotem said:

“Every Jewish community needs at least one Arab. Otherwise, who will repair my fridge when it breaks down on Shabbat?”

The worst part, is that probably, when most Israelis saw that quote in Yisrael Hayom, in Yedioth and in Maariv this morning – they probably grinned. “Hey, that Rotem guy is pretty funny”, a majority of Israelis said this morning. Trust me. They did.

But when I read those words, all I could hear was “[racist epithet].” And when I saw those words, all I could see were white hoods and burning Stars of David on the hills of Samaria.

Read more about the “acceptance committees” bill from +972 Magazine’s contributors:

Yossi Gurvitz, The Qa’adan Curse.

Jerry Haber, Israel’s Arab problem.

Click here to view photos taken of the riots in Um El Fahm.