A group of Arab and Jewish residents of Yafo, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and the Rabbis for Human Rights organization lost a second round in court last month while attempting to shut down a religious-Zionist housing project in Yafo. However, despite being ordered to pay four defendants 20,000 shekels each, the plaintiffs were not deterred, and have appealed a second time.
Having lost in a local court and in the Tel Aviv District Court, they are now filing suit in the Supreme Court against B'Emunah, an organization that builds housing for the religious-Zionist community. The organization has several building projects in mixed Arab-Jewish cities in pre-1967 Israel, including the project in Yafo that is the subject the suit.
The plaintiffs argue that the B'Emunah project is illegal, because the organization plans to build for religious-Zionist families and not others.
Yisrael Ze'ira, head of B'Emunah, expressed disgust at the latest attempt to torpedo the project. “There's no limit to how far the post-Zionist Association for Civil Rights will go to try to drag this out,” he said.
"It's a shame that they're using ugly legal manipulation to try to cancel a legal and moral victory,” Ze'ira continued. “As the [district] court stated, they are not acting in good faith.” The land on which B'Emunah is building was formerly the site of a synagogue, he noted.
Judge Yehuda Zaft of the Tel Aviv District Court wrote in his verdict that the suit “was not filed in good faith, because though the petitioners claim to represent the value of equality, they clearly want the complex in question to go to a particular group." Zaft had formerly noted that, "Had the winner of this tender targeted the apartments for the Arab sector, it appears that the petitioners would not have found anything wrong with this.”
Ze'ira said B'Emunah would continue to purchase land in Israeli cities and to build housing for religious-Zionist families.