SIKKUY BATTLES EXTREMIST HATE CAMPAIGN IN WADI ARA AND UMM AL FAHM
Dear Sikkuy Friends,
In recent years, as you may have followed both in the Sikkuy newsletters and in the general media in Israel, there has been an ugly campaign by extremist elements to delegitimize the Arab citizens of Umm al Fahm and the "Triangle" region and deny them their citizenship in the State of Israel.
These voices have advocated revoking the citizenship of the Arabs living in Israel in towns and villages along the "Green Line" border with the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas of the West Bank. They would accomplish this via what they disingenuously present as a "land swap" with the Palestinian Authority in a future peace accord.
More recently, Jews of the radical right expressed their intention to mount a "Jewish parade" through Umm al Fahm with the intent of fueling anti-Arab sentiments and igniting inter-communal conflict.
As a counter to this planned right-wing march, the Sikkuy-initiated Jewish-Arab Mayors Forum in Wadi Ara stood firm against the hate parade, making its voice heard in the media and to decision makers in the government.
Sikkuy called upon Jewish and Arab citizens to visit Umm al Fahm on the weekend of December 13 to express their solidarity with the residents of one of the largest Arab cities in Israel. More than 600 people (mostly Jews) arrived to visit the city peacefully, partake in guided tours led by the shared Jewish-Arab tourism development NGO, "Green Carpet", and enjoy the latest exhibit at the Umm al Fahm Art Gallery. Green Carpet is another fruit of Sikkuy's involvement in the area in recent years. It was very gratifying to see the local institutions that we have fostered take independent action and to add our own small contribution.
Sikkuy will continue to keep its finger on the pulse and be ready to continue its legal, constitutional and moral opposition to attempts by the extreme right to ignite civil conflict between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.
We bring you below a link to Ali and Shuli's Op-Ed concerning the situation in Umm al Fahm published on the YNET web site, one of the most highly visible Hebrew language portals, as well as a few news articles about the events in Umm al Fahm.
In their march, the rightists seek to conquer Umm al Fahm and threaten its residents. Perhaps it's legal, but it's certainly inappropriate >>>
Before internal security minister announces whether march organized by extreme rightists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir will be allowed to take place next week, Arab city opens gates to Jewish supporters for Muslim holiday in display of harmonious ties, hopes of preventing rally >>>
Right-wing activists' Monday parade in northern Arab town postponed following information on violent riots expected, fear of injuries. Rightist Ben-Gvir: This is a shame on the rule of law >>>
We look forward to your comments and promise to keep you updated on further developments in our ever-growing efforts to achieve equal and shared citizenship between Arabs and Jews and to foil the provocations of the extreme right.
As we approach the New Year 2009, it is a good time to remind all of our friends that there is no better time than now to renew your pledges of support to Sikkuy so that we can continue our vital work. If you'd like to know more about the options for giving your financial (or other) support to Sikkuy, please contact me.
With best wishes for a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year.