Muezzin Muzzle

10.08.13

Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv Wants to 'Silence' Muslim Call to Prayer in Jaffa

MyNet, a news source about Tel Aviv-Jaffa that falls under the umbrella of the Yedioth Aharonoth Group, reports that the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv is currently leading a campaign to silence the Muslim call to prayer in Jaffa and “maintain the Jewish character” of the city. Arnon Giladi is both deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and chairperson of the local branch of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud-Beiteinu. According to the report, party activists spent the night between Monday and Tuesday sticking up posters and distributing flyers emblazoned with the party logo and slogans such as, “Only the Likud can silence the muezzin in Jaffa,” and “Return Jaffa to Israel.”

Reporter Merav Shlomo Melamed quotes religious and political leaders who warn that Giladi is “playing with fire,” with his campaign, with local community leaders warning it has aroused such a storm of controversy and anger that the situation could very well spin out of control. But the deputy mayor is unrepentant. In response to a question from Melamed about going too far, he says, “We cannot allow the muezzins to run amok, or the local Arab leaders to create incitement.”

MyNet has a feature article on Giladi’s campaign slated to run in the weekend edition. Meanwhile, Likud-Beiteinu has published its own blog post about the campaign. The original Hebrew is here, with a translation below.

Arnon Giladi, deputy mayor of Tel Aviv: “It is unacceptable that an autonomous Palestinian national entity exists just a few kilometers from downtown Tel Aviv, detached from the State of Israel’s values.”

On Tuesday night the Likud-Beiteinu party’s branch in Tel Aviv-Jaffa distributed flyers and posters calling for the silencing of the muezzin, the Muslim call for prayer. Distributed throughout all the neighborhoods of Jaffa, the slogans on the flyers and posters call for the law regarding noise pollution to be enforced on mosques, and for a halt to the spread of the Islamist party.

Radical leftist activists and Islamist organizations have in recent years gained control of the public discourse in Jaffa. The Likud-Beiteinu have decided once again to bring this matter to the public’s attention, because this past Yom Kippur and throughout the entire month of the holy days, Jewish residents of Jaffa lodged numerous complaints about the holiness of those days being methodically disturbed in order to create a hostile atmosphere. Radical leftists and Islamist organizations have turned Jaffa into their playground, with the obvious intention of cutting it off from Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel.

Arnon Giladi, deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and chairperson of the Likud-Beiteinu’s Tel Aviv branch: “In recent years Jaffa has been occupied by radical leftists and Islamists who are trying, via religious education and [political] activism, to separate Jaffa from Israel and cut it off from Tel Aviv. We will act to correct this situation and develop a plan to ensure that Jaffa maintains its Jewish character. It is unacceptable that an autonomous Palestinian national entity exists just a few kilometers from downtown Tel Aviv, detached from the State of Israel’s values.”

Giladi was also active in the south Tel Aviv campaign against asylum seekers from sub-Saharan African countries like Eritrea, who have taken up residence in the city's impoverished inner city neighborhoods. The politicians' inflammatory speeches to Israeli residents of the area are widely believed to have incited the 2012 race riots that left businesses destroyed and dozens of asylum seekers injured.