Yesterday, Ashkelon, Israel’s Mayor Itamar Shimoni posted the following on his Facebook page:
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“Although the responsibility for posting security guards is the job of Internal Security Ministry, I have instructed that as of tomorrow morning, there will be armed security guards at every cluster of kindergartens (about 40) adjacent to construction sites where Arabs workers are being employed.
“Also, in kindergartens where construction work is being done by Arab workers, to create bomb shelters, work will be suspended until further notice.
“I thank the Ashkelon Police for its close collaboration in this matter, and I thank the donor who agreed to pick up the cost of security in the kindergartens.”
The mayor’s post received extremely hostile responses from Israeli politicians and lawyers from across the political map, from Arab MK Ahmad Tibbi to Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, all of whom protested the mayor’s “collective punishment” against innocent Arab workers.
Some paid lip service to the fact that the mayor was acting in response to a dire necessity, as parents of small children were pressuring him to secure kindergarten children from Arabs.
Unjust as this may seem, the fact is that over the past month Israelis have watched in horror as individual Arabs, many of them employed by Israeli businesses, decided one day to take up arms and go on a killing spree against their Jewish neighbors.
It’s already been said that more American citizens have been killed in the past month by Palestinians than by ISIS. Those were Jews with dual citizenship living in Israel.
This evening, Mayor Shimoni posted a new, cryptic message on his Facebook page, which has already received 5, 747 likes and 94 shares:
“There’s a cost to tough decisions and there are priorities. My residents come ahead of everything else.”
Shimoni’s page has received 32, 630 likes to date. As things stand right now, it could become one of the most popular pages in the country. Because, in striking contrast to their politicians, the vast majority of Facebook Israelis are expressing wild support for the mayor.
Former MK Michael Ben Ari, wrote in reply: “The true racists are in the Knesset, which doesn’t employ Arabs.”
Eliran Machluf wrote: “Ashkelon has abandoned pluralism in favor of reality, and the reality is we won’t allow anyone hurt the safety of our children, and I believe I represent 99% of the city’s residents.”
Some have already urged Mayor Shimoni to become Israel’s next prime Minster. Others have already crowned him King.
There were a few critical reply-posts, accusing the mayor and his supporters of racism. To which Shira Niazov replied: better to be a living racist than a dead bleeding heart liberal.
Obviously, Facebook does not represent a reliable public opinion poll , and those will be coming by in a few days. But for now, Facebook certainly represents the zeitgeist, and in today’s Israel the zeitgeist is rife with angry tears, frustration, and fear.