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Israeli Council Head: 'I Don’t Hate Arabs, but I Don’t Want Them at My Pools'

Lower Galilee Regional Council head Motti Dotan tells a radio station that Arabs' 'culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours.'

Lower Galilee Regional Council head Motti Dotan told a radio station on Thursday that he doesn’t want to see Arabs making use of pools in his locality.
"I don’t hate Arabs, but I don’t want them at my pools," he told the radio station. "I don’t go to their pools, either."
"If I'd come in a sleazy bathing suit, or if girls in bikinis come with me, it's clear to you what will happen to them, so that's why they'll [Arabs] stay in their pools and my guys will stay in our pools."
Dotan claimed that his comments had nothing to do with racism. "It's cultural differences, it's not racism… In non-Jewish, Arab culture, you go into the pool with clothes, trying to dictate all types of clothing, and that's why it doesn’t suit us. The culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?" he asked.
Dotan heads a regional council that includes 18 Jewish communities, some of which are located near Arab towns. For example, the Jewish religious kibbutz of Beit Rimon neighbors the Arab communities of Kafr Kana and Tur'an, and the Jewish community of Sarona is located near the Circassian Kafr Kama.
Dotan noted that "also with Arabs, if they act according to our norms I don’t have a problem with them, but it doesn’t happen, that's why I'm making a generalization."
According to him, he doesn’t intend to offend anyone and mentioned the Arab-owned private pool near Beit Rimon. "I haven’t seen a single Jew there. That's not racist. On a day that Jewish men and women can feel comfortable in an Arab town I'll be happy to have them [Arabs] at mine's. Until that happens I don’t want them."
Arab Knesset member Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List called Dotan's comments incitement to racism.
"In addition to being morally unacceptable, they constitute a criminal offense, and I am contacting the attorney general to open a criminal investigation," adding that the discrimination law on public accommodations includes discrimination based on national identity.
For her part, Meretz Knesset member Tamar Zandberg said racism is reflected in "the policies of the leadership from the prime minister and cabinet ministers and [local] authority heads and local leaders."
A statement from the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which promotes coexistence between Israeli Jews and Arabs, sarcastically said:
"Motti Dotan .., isn't a racist. He simply doesn't want dirty Arabs in his pool. For his part, he promises not to go to 'their' pools (the imaginary pools existing in all of the Arab communities in the Lower Galilee)."
Dotan and those like him are trying to establish segregation as a matter of practice, the organization claimed, and "along the way are trying to convince us that they're not racist. We're not convinced."

Noa Shpigel

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.733906


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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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