Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that residents of a new neighborhood in Akka (Acre) protested the sale of a house to an Arab family, claiming that they have the right to protest the sale, as they want to maintain the Jewish character of the area.Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that residents of the Hakerem Bet neighborhood, held a protest against the sale, on Tuesday at night, and waved Israeli flags while calling on the settlers to void the deal.
The paper also said that a Facebook group, calling itself “Our Acre” and identifies itself as a group that works for maintaining what it calls “the Zionist character without violence”, said that “it believes in coexistence” but also wants to maintain “the Jewish nature of the city”.
Haaretz said that the group’s director, Adir Cohen, said that there are other issues involved in this case, as the group wants to maintain what he called the “Jewish religious character”, and described the purchase of the home by the Arab man as “coercion that does not help coexistence”.
Cohen said that Firas Ali, the person who bought the home is a member of the Hadash Party (National Front for Peace and Equality) headed by Arab Member on Knesset, Mohammad Barakeh, therefore, according to Cohen; there are political motivations behind this deal.
He further claims that “politicians are trying to profit at the public’s expense” and that those politicians “want to destroy the relations between Jews and Arabs”.
Ali, the owner of the home, said that the claims are false, and that there has been no coercion, no politics, and explained that the previous owner of the place put it up for sale, and he bought it because he likes the new neighborhood, and wishes to live there.
Ali added that there are several Arab families living in the area, although none of these families live in this particular development.
He further stated that those who should be condemned are not him or the settler, but those who are threatening coexistence, Haaretz reported.
Ali also said that the does not intend to leave, even if the settler bows to the increasing pressure in order to void the sale. He will be moving into his new house in November of this year, Haaretz said.
The paper added that the “Our Acre” group would continue to protest the sale, an issue that could lead to further tension between Jews and Arabs in the city that witnessed several incidents of racial tension in recent years.
Furthermore, Haaretz said that it published a report, three months ago, about a lawsuit that was filed against a real estate company that opposed the selling of apartments to Arabs in the city. It also reported on developments built only for Orthodox Jews on state land.
General Director of the Al-Yater Arab advocacy group, Sami Huwwary, who filed the appeal, told Haaretz that housing became a central issue affecting the Arab-Jewish relations, and must be addressed by all parties.
He said that young couples and families want places to live in, and that the issue here is about residency rights, not coercion and politics.