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Afula opens its parks to Arabs, non-residents in 2 days, court rules – Israeli news

District Court in Nazareth

District Court in Nazareth.
(photo: Wikimedia Commons)


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Under the pressure of the Nazareth District Court, the Office of the State Prosecutor and the Adalah NGO, Afula will reopen its parks to non-residents, including the Arabs within two days, announced on Sunday.

The development came after Adalah sued Aful for discriminating against blocking the entry of the Arab into its parks and after the State Attorney's Office supported the NGO lawsuit.

Afula had previously argued that there was no law against the Arabs entering the parks, but there was a law that only Afula residents could enter the parks.

However, after Adala collected evidence that the non-resident conservative was selectively applied against the Arabs or was motivated by an attempt to keep the Arabs out of the park, the State Prosecutor's Office told the court late last week that the ban was illegal.

The state told the court that it can not put its head in the sand and pretend that there is no context of the situation, when it is clear that the ban on non-residents was motivated by the desire to discriminate against the Arabs.

At a hearing on Sunday, the court recommended Afuli to open its parks within two days, and the municipality accepted the recommendation.

On the first day of the summer vacation, when the ban came into force, lawyer Nariman Shehada Zoabi visited the Afula city park with her children, Adala said in a statement. At the entrance she was greeted with a sign saying: "The park is open only to the inhabitants of Afule." When the captain found out that Zoabi and her son were residents of the neighboring city of Nazareth, he banned her entry.

Zoabi said she felt "humiliated," the statement said. "Jewish residents were passing by, who freely entered this spacious park I know very well, while I had to follow my steps and go back to the car."

Two different television stations carried out secret work and documented Jews – non-residents of Afula – who entered the park unrestrained, even after they ordered the gatekeepers that they were not residents.

This move came only a month after Afule Mayor Avi Elkabetz made a statement about what he called "taking over our parks", which Adalh's representatives felt should have implied that there was too much Arab in the Afule parks.

The mayor also said that the Israeli flag should be proudly proud through the local park system and Hebrew music should be played. In the past, Elkabetz participated in demonstrations against the sale of houses in the city of Arabia.

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