Monday, December 20, 2010

Expelling the darkness

Today the sewers burst out and flowed into the streets of Bat Yam, and gathered into a pool before the shopping mall on Yoseftal Street. A band of local racists, augmented by a stream of militant "Hilltop Youth" bused in from the most extreme of the West Bank settlements, raised high the banner of Jewish racial purity. Specifically they called for murdering any Jewish girl caught dating an Arab ("Arab, don't you dare touch my sister"), and to be killed was also any Jew known to have sold property to Arabs.

The police of the state of Israel listened calmly to the incitement to murder flowing from the loudspeakers. The main duty placed upon them - the "separation of powers" to prevent any contact between the racists and the supporters of peace who gathered in protest around the corner.

"Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies," chanted the protesters, and also "Racists out", "Jews and Arabs – in Bat Yam we are all equal", "Bat Yam - a city for everybody", "Come, sister, there is no problem, you have the right to choose", "Sister, Sister – date whoever you fancy", "Without democracy there would be no country", "In the Declaration of Independence there is no place for racism", "We will not let the racists destroy this life" and then again to ""Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies" and "Racists out". "We are proud Arab-lovers" read the big placard flying overhead.

Former Knesset Member Tamar Gozansky and her husband Yoram were there, who live right next to where the racists held their party. And the Blue Shirt youths sang and danced and jumped and stamped their feet and chanted endless slogans and sang enthusiastically an old Hanukkah song which had become an anthem of the struggle against racism:

"We have come to expel the darkness,
Light and fire in our hands
Each one is a small light,
Together we are a strong light.
Turn back, darkness, turn back, away!
You cannot stand against the light!

A small tortoiseshell cat, apparently frightened by the noise and shouting, ran out into the road. A photo journalist, a policeman and two protesters came out immediately to protect her from the racing cars. The cat arrived safely at the other side and disappeared among the bushes behind the racists' rally. At least that.