Controversy after J'lem council member shutters Arab vendor

Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King causes uproar after boasting on Facebook that he shuttered Arab bagel vendor in Old City.

Tzvi Lev ,

Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem

Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King found himself in hot water after he boasted about how he had forced an Arab bagel vendor in Jerusalem's Old City to close his stand.

In a Sunday Facebook post, King said that he had ordered police to shutter the bagel stand after feeling that it was offensive to sell food in the open during the Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av.

"We took care to Judaize Jerusalem, and we were careful to preserve its character and the feeling that you were living in a Jewish city," King wrote, and uploaded a picture showing the bagels strewn all over the floor, a picture that was later deleted.

King came under attack from both the left and right, with many asking him why "closing a bagel stand is Judaizing Jerusalem".

"This was pointless, bad and inappropriate. What does it bother you that an Arab sells a bagel? " asked Makor Rishon journalist Yehuda Yifrach. Right-wing activist Assaf Fassi added that "This is not the way to preserve the Jewish character of Jerusalem. It is not Jewish and immoral."

King responded to the criticism by contending that the bagel seller had been hawking his wares without a permit and added that he was a well-known provocateur.

"The seller is known for being consistently known without a permit and it is not by chance that he chose the place he chose, the main road to the Western Wall," said King.

"It was good that they did what they did and confiscated his wares. If he acted like the other sellers in the Old City he would not have been bothered and the food would not be confiscated."