Yeshiva of Yafo
Yeshiva of Yafo Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

There is another side to the story of the anti-Jewish graffiti sprayed on walls in Yafo (Tel Aviv-Jaffa) . "Co-existence is alive and well in Yafo despite provocations by leftists trying to prove the opposite", Yafo Yeshiva administrator Ariel Elimelech told Arutz 7.

"You can see here as you walk through the streets and meet our Jewish and Arab neighbors – all the 'noise' is not happening here," he said. "This place is quiet; there are, thank G-d, good ties with our neighbors – both Jews and Arabs.

According to what we see, and based on the attitude of the local residents, the Yeshiva is in no way a source or center of provocation - but rather of serenity. This can be seen in the way the students relate to the area – the attitude is very sincere, open, and direct."

He related that last Saturday night's disturbances, when vandals sprayed slanderous graffiti in the city, were the work of radical provocateurs who try to enlist Arab opposition. Among the slogans were “”Yafo is not Hevron” and “Out with Settlers.”

Elimelech pointed out that the anti-Zionists behind the provocations are from outside the area and describe anyone with a kippa (skullcap) as a “settler” no matter where they live. He said that both Jewish and Arab media have slandered the yeshiva, and that one newspaper apologized for its remarks.

"I can point out many of the locals who say that it's good that we came and good that there is peace and quiet. We are living here in a very pleasant and nice daily atmosphere of coexistence – and this is how we will continue," according to Elimelech.

"The locals aren't interested in disturbances, and neither are we – it just seems that the media takes any opportunity it can to try to cause problems. This is why we are refusing to react or take part in this brouhaha, in order not to add fuel to the fire. We know the truth about how quiet it is here; we know how it actually looks on the ground."

Yafo is well within the borders that existed at the time of the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. Rabbi Isaac Hakohen Kook, later first chief rabbi of Israel, was rabbi of Yafo from 1904-1921.