An “extreme right racist militia” is operating in Carmiel with the full support of the local municipality and the approval of Israel police, the left-wing group Gush Shalom said on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Gush Shalom sent a letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein in which it called for the immediate disbanding of the Galilee city’s municipal guard. The group has also called for police to launch an investigation against Carmiel Deputy Mayor Oren Milstein, who launched the city guard program.
The 150 or so city guard volunteers are posted at the entrances to Carmiel from 8 p.m. to midnight and check the IDs of anyone arriving to the city, according to Gush Shalom. In their statement, the group said that a recent interview given by Milstein to the Haredi paper B’sheva proves that the true goal of the patrols is not combating drunk driving and drug offenses.
Gush Shalom quotes Milstein’s mid-September interview in B’sheva in which he said, “Carmiel is a Jewish city, plain and simple. It was founded for the Jews of the Galilee and it is not right for Arab families to move here. In recent years there has been an ongoing effort by our neighbors from the villages in the Western Galilee to live in Carmiel and we cannot ignore this phenomenon.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, Milstein said that the interview was held in order to promote his efforts to encourage national religious Jews and Jews from “the country of Tel Aviv” to move to the western Galilee. Milstein said the push is being made largely because the area is by his estimation only 30 percent Jewish.
According to Millstein, the support of local voters “obligates [him] to protect the Jewish- Zionist color of Carmiel, increase the security of its residents and make the city more lively and thriving.”
“Like everywhere else in Israel, Carmiel operates a civil guard,”
Milstein said, adding that the guard “is made up of people from all
religions and has had very impressive accomplishments.”
Milstein referred to the criticism from Gush Shalom as “racist left-wing
incitement that is completely detached from reality” and said that the
use of the term militia is “offensive and insulting!”