Arabs, Leftists: No Jews in Judea – or Yafo
by Maayana Miskin, Arutz Sheva, May 11, 2009
See Also: No Jews in Judea
(IsraelNN.com) The ‘B’Emuna’ construction company, which has built projects in Judea and Samaria, is now facing criticism for its latest initiative – a housing project in the Israeli city of Yafo (Jaffa), in pre-1967 Israel. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has termed the company “racist” over the plan, while local Arabs have threatened to take the matter to the Supreme Court.
“This means war,” a member of Yafo’s Arab Residents’ Committee said Monday to the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot. “We will not tolerate this, and we will not allow this neighborhood to be built.”
Opposition to the project stems from the fact that the housing will be marketed to young Jewish couples in the religious Zionist community. Arabs in Yafo and other mixed cities have accused religious Zionists, and B’Emuna in particular, of attempting to “Judaize” Arab areas.
B’Emuna, for its part, admits to having demographic concerns in mind when choosing the location of its building projects. However, the company says it is merely trying to stem the flow of Jewish flight from mixed cities, where Jews often face violence and sharply dropping property values, and is not trying to drive away local Arabs.
In fact, Arab residents of Yafo will benefit from the project, B’Emuna argues. The new entrants to Yafo will make good neighbors, and will help raise property values, the company says.
In the first stage of the project, B’Emuna will build 20 housing units, to be completed within months. It hopes to get approval from the Israel Lands Administration to build a total of 200 housing units in the area.
The project will include a yeshiva, mikveh (ritual bath), and synagogue.
One reason for the popularity of B’Emuna projects within pre-1967 Israel is the housing shortage in Judea and Samaria, where construction has been almost completely frozen as Israel negotiates with the Palestinian Authority over the creation of an Arab state in the area. With few options to buy in Judea and Samaria, young couples have been turning to central Israel instead, and have eagerly purchased housing in B’Emuna projects in Lod.
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