‘Judaization’ is racism
The term “Judaizing the Galilee” provides allegedly legitimate cover for every benighted racist position that sees the presence of Arabs in the Galilee or anywhere else as a national threat.
Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso describes his job as a national mission. “Upper Nazareth was founded to make the Galilee Jewish,” he declares. “The city’s residents and I, as their leader, overwhelmingly support the principle that Upper Nazareth must fulfill this mission.”
As part of this “mission,” Gapso has decided to block the opening of an Arab school for around 1,900 Arab pupils, children in a community making up about 20 percent of the city’s population. These children must travel daily to the neighboring Arab city of Nazareth, where the schools are having problems absorbing them all.
Upper Nazareth is a mixed city, which – like Haifa, Acre, Lod and Tel Aviv – is obligated to open schools for its minority communities. This obligation, stemming from the principle of equal rights for all Israelis, means Arabs have the right to their own schools under the Education Ministry’s aegis, not only in Arab cities but also in Arab neighborhoods in mixed cities.
Gapso, who in November asked the Interior Ministry to declare that Arab Nazareth was “hostile to the State of Israel,” doesn’t seem to recognize his obligation to supply separate educational services to his city’s Arab residents. Worse, his opposition to a school for the city’s Arab citizens is a blatant attempt to “cleanse” the city of those citizens, who, he says, “undermine” the Upper Nazareth’s national mission: to Judaize the Galilee.
The term “Judaizing the Galilee” provides allegedly legitimate cover for every benighted racist position that sees the presence of Arabs in the Galilee or anywhere else as a national threat. These positions are apparently backed by some of our national leaders, who still haven’t bothered to condemn Gapso’s remarks.
One might expect Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to immediately use his authority to order the opening of an Arab school in Upper Nazareth. But when Gapso makes remarks that Sa’ar apparently supports, and when the interior minister, the authority over the municipality, espouses racist views himself, Israelis who oppose racism and discrimination – Arabs and Jews alike – have no choice but to vote for parties that will fight both phenomena.