The latest cause célèbre among Israeli Arabs is an imported flip-flop that is being sold in Israeli marketplaces and low-cost shoe stores. In a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, MK Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra’am faction, demanded that all the flip-flops in question on shelves and in markets be taken off the market, and import of the item be banned. Failure to do so, he threatened, could lead to much public unrest, as well as lawsuits in Israeli and international courts.
The reason for the threats is that the offending flip-flops include the image of the Saudi Arabian flag on the heel of the shoe. That flag contains a passage from the Koran – so when someone wears it, they are essentially treading on a passage from the Muslims’ sacred book.
This, said Abbas, was deeply offensive to Muslims, and would have severe ramifications if not halted immediately. Muslim activists have been traveling the country looking for the flip-flops, either demanding that they be removed from store shelves or offering to buy up stock. Abbas demanded that new imports of the items be banned.
“We request that the flip-flops be gathered up and submitted to competent Muslim authorities so they can be disposed of properly,” he wrote in his letter to Erdan. “Otherwise, we will point an accusing figure at any government authority or private concern that has desecrated the faith of Muslims in Israel and around the world, and we will protest, as well as file complaints in courts in Israel and abroad,” the letter added. Erdan’s office has not yet responded to the letter.