Kochav Segal HaLevi, a Jewish security guard, legally bought a house in the mixed Muslim-Christian Arab village of Ibillin in northern Israel, east of Haifa. Upon moving in, however, he discovered that the locals are unwilling to let Jews live there.
It is a well known fact in Israel that Jews who try to live in Arab villages risk their lives, while Arabs live freely in Jewish neighborhoods. While leftist journalists and politicians, inside Israel and out, portray Israeli Jews as racist
for fighting Arab invasions of their cities, stories like this one – which show Arabs' zero tolerance for Jews in their neighborhoods – appear almost exclusively on Arutz Sheva
A legal purchase
"It was in late September,” HaLevi told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service. “I bought an apartment legally from a Christian Arab seller whose wife is Jewish, in the Christian part of Ibillin, near Shefaram. He sold the home because of debts to the bank, so the price was relatively low and I purchased the house.”
"I moved my belongings in and received the key. Before I moved in I spoke with the neighbors and asked them if they had any objection to my coming to live there. They said no there was problem and 'ahlan wasahlan' (welcome). If you do not make trouble there is no problem with you living here.'”
"I was not motivated by a racist or provocative approach, but from a belief that we are 'a free nation in our land,'” HaLevi said, quoting a line from HaTikvah, the national anthem.
End of illusion
The illusion lasted only one day. “On my first day there I came home late in the evening, and entered the apartment. Two neighbors arrived – one from above and one from across the road. One was 'the good cop' and the other was 'the bad cop.' The neighbor from upstairs told me I can't live there because there is an eviction order from the bank. I told him I have no problem with the bank and that the matter has been settled already. Then the neighbor from across the road came and said forcefully 'you will not live here.'”
"I brought the seller and his wife there to explain matters to him but nothing helped and the situation became messy. That neighbor brought nine or ten other guys who told me – 'you will not live here.'”
HaLevi says the same neighbor who called in the other men had sat down with him for a friendly cup of coffee several days earlier, to welcome him. “He must have gotten a message from the neighbors that I was not to be allowed in. I tried to understand what I had done but he only said 'I am blocking you' and hit me in the head.”
Fight not over
"At that stage I said that I do not want bloodshed here and that I am leaving,” HaLevi recounted. “I took only the more expensive equipment from the house and that was how I managed to escape. The neighbor who made the threats boasted that his father was serving a jail sentence after shooting another neighbor in the head... and that he is not afraid to sit in jail because of me.”
HaLevi says the fight is not over. “I intend to continue fighting for my democratic right. I filed a complaint with the police but nothing is happening. A month has passed and the police are doing nothing. The man who threatened me is still free, one month later.”
"I am against racism of any kind,” he said, and said he intended to take the matter to court and would welcome any assistance he could get.
Scholars identify Ibillin with a Jewish village from Talmudic times called Avlayim.