Yitzhar protest sign banning Arabs draws racism charges

The sign appeared after a dispute with the army over the entry of Palestinians to the settlement.

Sign outside of Yitzhar settlement (photo credit: COURTESY PEACE NOW)
Sign outside of Yitzhar settlement
(photo credit: COURTESY PEACE NOW)
A protest sign placed on the road outside the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on Monday, which warned that “entrance to Arabs is dangerous,” has prompted charges of racism from politicians and settlers.
The sign was designed to mimic the well-known red and white signs that dot the roads in the West Bank forbidding Israelis from entering Area A, which is under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and which is an exclusively Palestinian region.
The sign appeared after a dispute between the settlement and the army over the entry of Palestinians that arose after an Arab doctor was not allowed to administer a COVID-19 test in Yitzhar.
Yitzhar spokesman Zvi Sukkot said that Palestinians were allowed into the community, but only those known to the residents who had undergone security checks, such as were not possible with the doctor.
He added that the sign was meant as a protest gimmick, which was removed within half an hour.
Sukkot explained that the sign was no different than the ones put by the state that prevent Israelis from entering 20% of the West Bank.
MK Yair Golan (Meretz) tweeted about the sign, asking “Is this who we want to be, a racist state?”
He used the incident to attack the Yamina Party and its leader and former defense minister MK Naftali Bennett, who is the leading politician now in the polls, right after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Golan also took a stab at one of the more outspoken members of Yamina, MK Bezalel Smotrich.
“Smotrich and Bennett are [leading] the strongest party in Yitzhar,” Golan said, explaining that Yamina had received 35% of the vote there.
“They are Yitzhar’s representatives in the Knesset,” he added.
“The sign to Yitzhar is a warning sign against Smotrich and Bennett.”
Smotrich on Twitter condemned the sign, called it “disgusting!” and added that the protesters: “have not learned anything from the antisemitism towards our people?”
Former Yesha Council head and former Israeli Consul General to New York Dani Dayan also tweeted against the sign.
The NGO Peace Now tweeted, “This won’t age well... If you’re wondering how these Yitzhar settlers can do this, think about what example our govt is leading. This sign, as shocking as it is, is but a small, symbolic manifestation of what is so wrong here. What kind of country are we leaving for our children?”