Judge cancels Arab takeover of Afula

Court orders to nix tenders, in which only Arabs won, after petitioners prove illegal price fixing was behind 'instant Arab neighborhood.'

Shlomo Pyotrkovsky ,

Afula protest against Arab takeover (file)
Afula protest against Arab takeover (file)
Yehuda Puah

The Nazareth District Court on Sunday ordered to cancel the tenders for a new neighborhood in Afula Ilit, in which all 48 plots were sold to Arabs in an "instant Arab neighborhood" that led to outrage and protests in Afula.

Judge Avraham Avraham ordered to cancel the bidding results, after ruling that those petitioning the tenders were able to prove a significant portion of the winning bids were price fixed with the bidders coordinating their offers. The conditions of the tenders forbid such coordination of the bids.

The judge noted that the fairness of the bidding was "seriously harmed" by the actions, and therefore threw out the tenders.

The legal basis for his decision came from the results of a case regarding land tenders in Harish, where the court confirmed the Israel Land Authority (ILA) head's position, according to which price fixing and manipulation are grounds to negate the results of several or all of the tenders.

Evidence showing the price fixing could be seen from nine plots for two families each, in which identical bids won the tender, each for 255,555 shekels (nearly $66,000). The identical offer for the unusual sum clearly indicated coordination.

In several other plots, bids won out that appeared 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.

Also raising suspicions was the fact that all of the winning bidders were Arabs, and not a single resident of the city of Afula won any bids.

Ya'akov Dadon, a resident of the city whose daughter Shelly was brutally murdered by an Arab terrorist in 2014, 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 said that they already live in fear of Arab violence and that a new Arab neighborhood would make their lives unbearable.