Daily Israel Report

Fear and Loathing in Ramla: MK Visits

After hearing horror stories from local Jews, MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) warns coastal city could turn Arab.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/27/2013, 6:36 PM

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Artium Degel

MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) visited Ramla on Thursday, and was guided by Michael Yomtovian, a rabbi in a local school.

MK Shaked's visit concentrated on the neighborhood of Amishav, which was established in the 1950s by immigrants from Tunis. The neighborhood is experiencing a hostile takeover by Arabs.

The trouble began, local Jews said, when the Defense Ministry began settling former Arab Shin Bet collaborators in the neighborhood. These people, they explained, feel that they are above the law and will be protected by the government, which bought their homes for them, no matter what they do.

The locals told stories of repeated criminal acts against people and property, including rock throwing, hurling eggs at homes, puncturing tires, torching of cars and breaking in to the local day care center. The police are helpless, they added. “Once I called the police and they asked me, 'What do you suggest that we do?',” recounted Yomtovian. “I don't get it. Do I work for the police?”

Sofia Cohen, who runs the local day care center, said that “the nursery school teachers are afraid when they make their way to and from the the center. The Arab residents break into our center at night, vomit on the floor, throw broken bottles into the center, endanger us and our children. You must understand that the center is 'the crown pearl' of the neighborhood.”

At the end of the tour, Shaked was invited to the Cohen family's home. The father, a Ramla pioneer, said that Arabs come to the house every week to try and buy it from him, but he refuses to sell it “for any price in the world.” Cohen said that he told the potential buyer directly: “I do not sell to Arabs!”

The Arab told him – “You will see that whether you want to or not, you will have to sell to Arabs. Wait and see.”

Shaked also saw an abandoned structure that used to be a yeshiva. “It is sad to see the abandonment and helplessness of the police, and the other elements that are supposed to take care of the area," she said. "We are at a critical time, at which Ramla can turn into 'Lod number two', where the Jewish majority is retaking control of its city, or G-d forbid we may lose the city to an Arab majority, so that one day, Ramla might seem like a distant dream about a city that could have been a wonderful pearl in the coastal plain region.”