The Kadima ruling party has joined a long list of Israeli official and popular institutions that have taken mosques inside Israel, many left empty after the Palestinian population was expelled in 1948, and used them for other purposes.
Mosques inside Israel have been used as nightclubs, political offices, even as stables for sheep. Recently, the Kadima party in Safad, in the northern part of Israel, took over the historical Red Mosque, al-Masjid al-Ahmar, to use it as its party headquarters. Party members installed a sign in Hebrew on the Western side of the Mosque, bearing the name of the party, and saying that the building was ‘formerly used as a nightclub’.
al-Masjid al-Ahmar, the Red Mosque, was built by al-Thaher Bebers in the year 1266 AD, during the Mamluki period of Islamic rule in the region. This mosque is one of four mosques and three churches from that period which have survived to the present day.
Dr. Mustapha Abbasi lives in the neighboring village. His family was expelled from Safad during the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) in 1948, when the newly-formed state of Israel expelled 750,00 Palestinians from their homes. Abbasi said that through the years, the al-Masjid al-Ahmar Mosque has suffered many incidents of desecration at the hands of the Israelis, including being used as the filming location for a pornographic movie, and as a night club, in more recent years.
The former home of the family of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, has been used for many years as the party headquarters for the right-wing Likud party in Israel. The Abbas family was also expelled during the Nakba of 1948.