Zionism = Racism.
TEL AVIV (IPS) - It’s Saturday night in south Tel Aviv. Amine Zegata, a 36-year-old refugee from Eritrea, is reopening the small bar he owns in the HaTikva neighborhood. The pub was closed after Jewish Israelis smashed his windows and the bottles within during the race riots two weeks back. But Zegata has been assaulted twice since then. Violence against African refugees is continuing.
On the evening of 23 May, a number of Jewish Israelis gathered in south Tel Aviv to protest the presence of Africans in their neighborhood. Members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, gave inflammatory speeches at the rally. Miri Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, declared that Africans are a “cancer” in Israel’s body. Michael Ben Ari from the far-right National Union party claimed that Africans are rapists, and said the “time for talk is over.”
Mobs responded to such speeches by chasing and beating asylum-seekers, vandalizing African-owned stores, and breaking the windshield of a car carrying African men.
Zegata said that the violence “isn’t over.” After assaulting him twice following the riots, local Israelis have warned him to stop repairing his bar, and threatened to crack his head open.
Locals have already cracked the new glass storefront Zegata put in to replace the one that was smashed. Zegata said he is less worried about his business than about his safety. “The glass, this isn’t a problem,” he said in fluent Hebrew, pointing to the cracks. “If they break the glass, I can switch it, I can buy a new one. But life, you can’t buy.”