Friday, February 19, 2010

Palestinians of Yaffa face right wing settler thugs as neighbors

Yaffa is home to what remains of a Palestinian community near what is now the bustling coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv. Palestinian residents say their neighborhood has become the latest battleground for an attempted takeover by extremist Jews, a dynamic familiar from West Bank cities like Hebron, where Zionist Israelis move into Palestinian homes under the cover of armed soldiers.

Small numbers of nationalist religious Jews have begun moving into Yaffa’s main Arab district, Ajami, over recent months.

Tensions have been simmering since a special Yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, was established last year in the heart of Ajami for young Jewish men who combine study of religious texts with serving in the Israeli army. Many such seminaries, known as "hesder yeshivas," are located in the occupied territories and have earned a reputation for turning out extremists.

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