Outside Israel, most of the world only hears about the major eruptions of violence between Jews and Arabs in the region. But there is an unseen and constant low-level campaign of racial hatred, intimidation and terrorism that plagues the nation.
Case in point, a few days ago four Arab men were caught red-handed trying to rape a teenage Jewish girl in the northern Israel town of Afula. The rape was prevented at the last minute by a Jewish man who heard the girl screaming and scared away her attackers.
"I was walking in the city center near a darkened building under construction when I heard a girl screaming for help," Itai Cohen told The Jewish Voice. "I went inside and saw four Arab men around 30-40 years of age holding down a crying Jewish girl. I grabbed a crowbar and shouted. They panicked and ran away."
Cohen later said that while he simply acted on instinct in the heat of the moment, had the Arab men decided to turn on him, the incident could have ended far worse for both Cohen and the girl.
After returning the traumatized girl to her family, Cohen stated that this was far from an isolated incident.
"We are surrounded by Arab villages, and Arabs walk freely around Afula," he said, asserting that as a result "harassment has been increasing all over the city, but most Jews are too afraid to speak up."
Demonstrating that this phenomenon is prevalent in other parts of the country, too, The Jewish Voice also reported on the harassment of Jewish girls in downtown Jerusalem on Monday.
The girls in question said they had been hanging out near Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Park when a group of Arab youth passed by and began cursing at them. The incident escalated when the Arab youths threatened the girls and insisted they would not allow Jews to pass through the area.
Both incidents were completely ignored by the mainstream Israeli and international press.
The reason for bringing all this up is not to incite animosity towards the Arabs, nor to suggest that Israelis are perfect angles, while their enemies are heartless and cruel. The reason is to debunk a myth and to again point out a terrible case of double standards.
First, the double standard.
As noted, the media fully ignored both of these incidents, and the hundreds of others like them that happen all the time. Of course, were the roles switched, if it had been four Jewish youths trying to rape an Arab teenager, the Israeli and international press wouldn't be able to stop talking about the story.
Holding Jews to a different standard than their antagonists is anti-Semitism, plain and simple.
Second, the myth.
Israel's Arab antagonists, including those who sit in Israel's parliament, regularly try to paint a picture of widespread discrimination to the point that Arab citizens of Israel are uncomfortable or even under threat in Jewish-dominated areas.
But the opposite is in fact true. Israel's Arab citizens frequent Jewish-dominated areas with great regularity, and are generally treated no differently than Jews. A casual visit on any given day to downtown Jerusalem or the city's Malha Mall will easily prove this point.
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