Not long ago, a police car stood at Migdal Junction near the Sea of Galilee and lay in wait for serious tax defaulters. The offenders were identified by their license plates. A police truck towed away cars that had been confiscated.
The surprise roadblock led to traffic jams and disrupted the lives of area residents, so we need to ask why the tax authorities didn't just knock on debtors' doors, as is usually done. Why were they forced to block a distant intersection with the help of police? The defaulters, in this case, were members of the Arab sector. Their villages are a no-go area for government employees.
We are on the verge of losing the Galilee. The Jewish minority there feels that the state has given up on them. It's not just a question of demography, but rather a total abdication of the symbols and attributes of sovereignty. There is selective law enforcement due to fear, due to a surge in the number of nationalist and criminal offenses, as well as due to accelerated Islamization. The Zionist dream ends at Route 6.
Yulia and Eran from the Har Yona neighborhood of Nazareth Illit are in despair. Only two Jewish families remain in their building. The harassment and threats have finally driven them to leave. Entire neighborhoods are being emptied of Jews. Shimon and Anat are another couple who have their suitcases packed. They are looking for an apartment in Rehovot. The park under their house in Carmiel is mainly populated by our Arab "cousins."
"So what?" I say, "Arabs have a right to live there." Their daughters are afraid to leave the house, they explain. There is crime, sexual harassment, jeeps tearing by at 140 kilometers an hour in residential neighborhoods. Life has become unbearable. You feel like an outsider in your own city.
"I guess the Galilee is not for Jews," Eran Rosenblit from Nazareth Illit says, nodding in agreement. He tried to organize a conference to save the Galilee, but gave up: "Even Knesset members won't come here."
He sees the government building in Sakhnin and selling apartments in Umm el-Fahm. Meanwhile, there are almost zero land allocations for construction in the Jewish sector. In the farming community of Migdal, only 30 housing units for young couples have been allocated in the last few years.
On the other side of the road, in the Arab village of Wadi Hamam, 150 lots for single-family dwellings have been approved in the same time span. These are just the numbers of official authorizations, on paper. In fact, illegal building dots the Galilee map like dense freckles. Thousands of single-family homes are being built outside the jurisdictional lines of Arab municipalities.
Law enforcement is heavy-handed. An unauthorized room in a Jewish community will lead to huge fines, demolition orders and trips to court. In the Arab sector, nada.
A young couple wanting to realize their dream of a house with a garden, as advertised in the Galilee Development Authority brochures, will encounter bureaucratic obstacles and out-of-touch planning bodies. On the other side of the road, one can see deluxe palaces. If and when a demolition order is issued for a structure in the Arab village, police cancel it for fear of riots. "Riots" is a code word. It is the reason why the Electric Company, the public works department and local councils pay random sums in compensation for land appropriations for public infrastructure and road expansion. Often the government will compensate "landowners" even though there is no proof that the land belongs to them, just to keep the peace.
Arab citizens are generally good and honest people. The problem is not the Arab population, but the State of Israel. It's not the people, it's the system. The Galilee is increasingly escaping our hold. It is getting further away. Intelligence coordinators in the police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) are aware of potential terrorism bubbling under the surface. Weapons are being stored for criminal and nationalist purposes.
In the mosques, you can hear and see the growing religious extremism. Residential break-ins are on a steep increase. Sophisticated gangs are carrying out cattle theft on a massive scale. Farmers wake up in the morning to find their orchards stripped bare of fruit. Is this sovereignty? The police claim they do not have enough manpower, so volunteers from the New Israeli Guardians organization lie in ambush throughout the night to guard Farmer Yossi's lychees and grapefruits.