Israeli city bans public park to non-residents from surrounding Arab communities


Adalah attorney and her infant son banned from entering public park in Afula after security guard determines they are from Arab city of Nazareth; Adalah takes legal action

Afula park aerial view

Adalah reports

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel initiated legal action after Afula, a northern Israeli city, banned the entry of non-residents into a public park, a move aimed primarily to block residents of nearby Arab communities from making use of the sprawling facility.

The Afula municipality’s ban was issued following an explicit election promise made by Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz to act against what he deigned the “conquest of the park” by residents of surrounding Arab communities. He called on the city’s Jewish residents to “proudly hoist Israeli flags throughout the park and play music in Hebrew”.

The city’s ban was made public just several days after Elkabetz took part in a protest against the sale of a home in the city to Palestinian citizens of Israel and after newly-elected city council members were sworn in pledging to act to preserve the city’s Jewish character.

Adalah Attorneys Fady Khoury and Sari Arraf submitted an administrative petition to the Nazareth District Court last night 1 July 2019, demanding the court rule as null and void the Afula municipality’s ban on the entry of non-residents to the public park.   Adalah also asked for an injunction that prohibits the implementation of the decision.

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