Combating Far-Right Escalation in East Jerusalem

17 February 2022

The New Israel Fund and other social change organizations have called on the government to restrict far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir and his Lehava organization, who have been kindling anti-Palestinian hatred in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and mixed Jewish-Arab cities throughout Israel. Over the past week, MK Ben Gvir set up a temporary “office” tent in Sheikh Jarrah in order to draw his extremist supporters to the area and encourage the eviction of the Palestinian families living in the neighborhood. Ben Gvir’s supporters have been heard chanting slogans like, “break their bones,” and “they are all terrorists, expel them to Gaza.”

Since the clashes last May during the IDF’s operation in Gaza, Ben Gvir has been doing everything possible to fan the flames of conflict in Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities like Lod, Ramle, Jaffa and Akko. He regularly tours the cities whipping up Jewish mobs into a frenzy of hatred.

In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, eviction orders hang over a handful of Palestinian families who were granted housing by the Jordanian government as compensation after their expulsion from West Jerusalem and other parts of Israel in 1948. The situation is tense and Ben Gvir’s aim is to escalate it to a boiling point.

NIF grantee, Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together) said, “We call on the government to wake up and place restrictions on the rioting by Jewish settlers and MK Ben Gvir in Sheikh Jarrah. We are not prepared to have another moment like May 2021. We do not want another round of violence and bloodshed. Most importantly we demand a halt to these cruel evictions.”

NIF will continue to support and assist civil society structures and organizations, which represent the moral compass of Israeli society.