'We have no other country'
Watch: Afula protests instant Arab neighborhood

Hundreds of residents protest apparent illegal price fixing as all 48 plots of a recent tender bought by Arabs; 'Afula is not for sale.'

Ari Yashar ,

Afula protest
Afula protest
Yehuda Puah

Hundreds of residents of the northern city of Afula took to the streets to protest on Saturday night against the "instant Arab neighborhood" being formed, after tenders for 48 plots in Afula Ilit were published - and every single one was sold to Arabs.

The residents argue that the Arab buyers coordinated the prices among themselves so as to price fix and purchase the entire area, in a move that is in breach of the law. They call to cancel the purchases and publish new tenders.

Bearing signs reading "we have no other Afula/country," "Afula is not for sale" and "Afula is in danger," hundreds took part in the protest.

One speaker said, "this struggle is a central and significant milestone in preserving the character of the city of Afula. ...We are saying something clear: Afula is not for sale!"

Two weeks ago Attorney Ilan Vaknin sent a letter to senior officials in the Israel Land Administration (ILA), demanding that they cancel the tenders.

Vaknin, who is representing a number of bidders for the tenders who were turned down, argues that the ILA needs to invalidate all of the results of the tenders, due to what he terms illegal price fixing and manipulation.

In making the demand, Vaknin based his argument on the results of a legal case regarding land tenders in Harish, where the court confirmed the ILA head's position, according to which price fixing and manipulation are grounds to negate the results of several or all of the tenders.

In his letter, Vaknin noted how in the case of nine plots for two families each, identical bids won the tender, each for 255,555 shekels (nearly $66,000). The identical offer for the unusual sum would seem to indicate coordination.

In several other plots, bids won out that appear to have been coordinated in advance to be close to those of the nine plots; the bids were for figures such as 255,777 shekels and 255,888 shekels.

Ilona Goldenstein, an organizer of the struggle against the new Arab neighborhood, told Arutz Sheva earlier this month that the tender was advertised in a very low-key manner, and that there is evidence of price fixing from the near identical Arab bids.

Ya'akov Dadon, a resident of the city whose daughter Shelly was brutally murdered by an Arab terrorist last year, said that while his daughter was stabbed 17 times, upon learning of the new neighborhood, he felt that he was "stabbed 50 more times."

Residents say that they already live in fear of Arab violence and that the Arab neighborhood will make their lives unbearable.