Ariel Attias, Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister, told the Bar Association in Tel Aviv, that it was time to face the reality that Arabs and Jews must inhabit separate sections of the country because if they live together it threatens the existence of Israel. “We can all be bleeding hearts, but I think it is unsuitable (for Jews and Arabs) to live together.” His argues that Arabs want to inhabit areas where Jews live in order to force them to flee and thus gradually the Arabs can take over large sections of Israel. Member of Knesset, Ahmed Tibi, expressed the shock that any Jew or Muslim should be saying it is incredible that a member of the Israel government regards its citizens as threats to security.
In 1965, I was among the first Jews to obtain a house in the previously all Christian Webster Groves community located in St. Louis. My six year old daughter experienced prejudice because she was the only Jewish girl in the school. I politely went to discuss the situation with a neighbor who told me, “why did you people come to our community? No one wants you here.” We eventually had to withdraw our daughter from her school. I read the words of Ariel Attias in shock. How can this man be a Jew! To be a Jew is to fight against bigotry and prejudice. To be a Jew is to remember that Palestinians are our brothers and sisters, not our enemies. As long as Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of bigots like Avigdor Lieberman and Attias are in power, there can be no peace with Palestinians. It is time for Israelis to look into the mirror of hate and prejudice and see their reflections.