Skip to main content

Israeli mayor responds to racism charge

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni argues that the decision to halt work by Arab Israeli construction workers in his city was intended only to allay tensions, saying, "I believe that Arab Israelis are part of us."
Labourers work near kindergarten surrounded by concrete blast walls, erected to protect against Palestinian rocket and mortar salvoes, on the first day of the school year in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, just outside the Gaza strip, September 1, 2014. An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war has held since August 27. Many families with small children from Nahal Oz have not returned to their homes yet as they fear the ceasefire will not hold. A four-year-old Israeli boy from Nahal Oz was killed by a mortar attack from Ga
Read in 

Of all the strong condemnation following the Nov. 19 decision by Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni to stop the work of Arab Israeli construction workers in kindergartens across the city, that of Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett incensed him the most: “As minister of economy and trade, I won't be part of hurting any worker because of his religion or race.”

“Look who is calling the kettle black,” Shimoni said during an interview with Al-Monitor. “Suddenly, the right-wing Bennett ostensibly defends Arab Israelis. It might have been very nice had it not been imbued with hypocrisy. He holds a certain position year-round, yet all of a sudden he comes out with all sorts of statements against me. I regret that these are the people who run the State of Israel.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.