The ongoing tragedy of Jewish-Muslim relations in Israel continues and once again right wing religious nuts want to make clear that Arabs have no place living in areas inhabited for hundreds of years by their ancestors. Jaffa has been the home of Muslims and Jews for many years, and, while relations between the groups are not always smooth, they have co-existed without violence. However, a Jewish religious group of fundamentalists who seek to have no relations with others not of their faith is determined to build a 20 apartment complex for true and blue Jews. The human rights group, Association for Civil Rights is charging the development discriminates against Muslims by restricting home ownership to those who are Jewish. There is fear once fundamentalists gain control over an area they will enforce regulations such as closing stores or preventing cars from driving in the area on Saturday or religious holidays. Originally, Jaffa had over a 100,000 Muslims but most fled or were evicted during the 1948 War of Independence. During the past thirty years not a single Muslim family has obtained a permit to expand their home.
The essence of Judaism is respect for individual rights. When I moved to St. Louis in 1966 I was informed people in Webster Groves did not wish Jews as neighbors and my children encountered hate when they tried playing at school. Perhaps, Jews in Jaffa can explain how their goal to rid the area of Muslims differs from Christian attempts to keep their neighborhood –Jew free! Bigotry by Jews is the same as bigotry by Nazis and conservatives.