Jerusalem, July 7, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the mayor of Ashkelon for rejecting calls by a member of the Ashkelon City Council and local political leaders to ban Arab-Israeli citizens from the city. Public officials recently asked Mayor Roni Mehatzri to prevent Israeli Arabs and Bedouin from attending places of entertainment and sleeping in the city after working there during the day.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Israel, issued the following statement:
Calls by public figures to ban minorities from specific towns or localities are abhorrent and we welcome Mayor Mehatzri's statement in which he refused to even consider the proposal. However, as the call for a ban on Arab citizens in Ashkelon came from a number of prominent local officials, including a member of city council, we urge Mayor Mehatzri to follow the lead of President Moshe Katzav and publicly and forcefully defend the human and civil rights of all Israeli citizens regardless of their national or religious identity.