The Arabs of Israel, Judea and Samaria yesterday observed the so-called “Nakba Day” to commemorate the “catastrophe” of the founding of the State of Israel and the displacement of 700,000 “Palestinians” from the territory of the former British Mandate.
Arab students at Tel Aviv University marked the day en masse, leading to a full-fledged clash between those waving the PLO flag and those with the Israeli flag in hand.
While before the Oslo Accords it was forbidden to wave the PLO flag in Israel, today it is permitted, even on the campus of Tel Aviv University. As the pictures from Tel Aviv started hitting the media yesterday, many no doubt thought at first glance that they were looking at a scene from Ramallah.
Ironically, these Arab students were protesting, among other things, Israel’s alleged “apartheid,” even as they study alongside Jewish students at one of the Jewish state’s top universities.
Opposing them were activists from the right-wing organization Im Tirzu, who showed up waving Israeli flags.
At one point there was a bizarre scene in which an Israeli woman with a large Israeli flag faced the demonstrating Arab students and danced before them.
An Arab student joined her and they danced together with their flags. At first everything went smoothly and with a smile on both sides. But then another Arab demonstrator got carried away and approached the Israeli woman and told her to leave. When she didn’t, he tried to physically move her and snatch the flag from her hand, but he was unsuccessful.
At this point, the Israeli security forces began to intervene and asked the Jews demonstrators to leave in order to avoid an escalation. The woman then went to the other side and joined the other pro-Israel protesters.
The Israeli flag-dancer was today invited to an interview on early morning television, where she recounted the experience. The 45-year-old woman lives opposite the university, and when she saw the demonstration of the Arab students with the PLO flags, she decided to go to the campus with an Israeli flag.
A member of the morning program panel criticized the woman’s action, calling it a “provocation.” The woman replied that an Israeli flag in Tel Aviv, in the heart of the State of Israel, could not be considered a provocation.
Incidentally, the demonstration with the PLO flags was not criticized.
A complicated time
At the Tel Aviv demonstration, three pro-Arab protesters were arrested for assaulting an official and disturbing the peace during the rally. Two pro-Israel protesters are said to have been attacked by the Arab protesters.
We are in a complicated time. It seems Israel’s first priority is to maintain calm. We want to keep our opponents pacified at all costs. Have we been intimidated by Hamas’ threats from Gaza?
An extraordinary case was reported on the evening news yesterday. An employee of the KAN public broadcaster was physically attacked by an Arab colleague after he planted an Israeli flag at his workplace. The attacker was, of course, immediately dismissed.
This incident shows an uncomfortable reality. Unfortunately, hatred of Israel is also alive and well among some of our fellow citizens in the Arab community, despite us all living as equal citizens in the State of Israel.
What is certain is that we must not be ashamed and should not be afraid to fly our flag. If that is not possible, then we have a very big problem.