At least four Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, have banned Arab laborers from their schools, struggling to calm public fears fueled by the worst surge of Palestinian street attacks in years.
Israel’s Interior Ministry, which oversees municipalities, declined immediate comment on Sunday on the decision, condemned by a party representing the country’s Arab minority as racist.
Another city, Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, midway between Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim, said that “minority members” referring to Arab employees, would be banned from working in its schools.
Dov Khenin, a legislator from the Joint Arab List, said on Israel Radio that “under cover of anxiety, dangerous measures of racist exclusion are being advanced.”
Spokesmen for Tel Aviv and Rehovot insisted the ban would apply to Jews and Arabs alike. But Doron Milberg, director-general of the municipality of Rehovot, acknowledged that Arabs would be most affected by the decision because “those who work construction … are the minorities.”
At the same time, hundreds of IDF soldiers, many of them paratroopers, were deployed in the capital on Sunday, to provide security against Arab attacks on public transportation. The IDF units are supposed to coordinate with the police.
Israel’s cabinet endorsed more security measures on Sunday after further Palestinian stabbings over Shabbos, widening police stop-and-frisk powers that will effectively allow them to search anyone on the street.
The existing law allows police officers to search a person on reasonable suspicion that the person is carrying a weapon, usually construed to mean that the officer had to see something that could be a weapon to justify a search.
If a new bill passes, policemen will be authorized to search anyone in a place prone to violence or in a threatening situation, even without any visual cue that the person may be carrying a weapon, Haaretz reported.
Also on Sunday, police finally moved to provide some protection for the Jewish residents of Armon HaNetziv, who have repeatedly been the targets of Molotov cocktails thrown at them from the nearby Jabel Mukaber.
Three concrete slabs were put in place as a protective barrier for a particularly vulnerable spot.
The new wall is meant to be only temporary, as the letters printed on the slabs indicate: “temporary mobile police roadblock.”