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Jerusalem Day Organizers: Avoid Fights with Arabs

MK Ariel: 'In recent years we have seen that some participants choose... to confront Arabs who live in the Old City.'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/5/2010, 8:56 PM / Last Update: 5/5/2010, 9:11 PM

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Organizers of the annual 'Rikudgalim' Jerusalem Day flag parade have asked participants to avoid unnecessary confrontations with Arabs.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union), along with NGOs Am Kalavi and Mateh Maamatz, which have organized the Rikudgalim event for the past 20 years, issued a plea Wednesday to participants to avoid fights with Arabs during the parade, which includes much dancing in the streets with Israeli flags held high (The name 'Rikudgalim' is a combination of the Hebrew words for 'dance' and 'flags').

'A city that was joined together'
"The purpose of the Rikudgalim is to express the connection to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and to the Temple,” Ariel explained in a public letter that was also addressed to educators. “Rikudgalim throughout the city expresses more than anything else King David's words in Psalms: 'The built-up Jerusalem is like a city that was joined together within itself'” .

"Unfortunately, in recent years we see that some participants choose to ignore the main thing, which is Jerusalem, and to confront the Arabs who live in the Old City. The Rikudgalim must not become a scene of fights with the Arabs – and the police. If this happens, we wind up losing more than we gain.”

"I implore you,” the legislator added to heads of educational institutions. “As Jerusalem Day approaches, please talk to the students about the loftiness of Jerusalem.”

Police limited the path of the Rikudgalim this year because they said that in previous years, celebrants who passed through the Muslim Quarter created friction with the Arab residents there.