Controversial new Jewish neighborhood approved in Jaffa

An appeal by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, which claimed that the construction policy is discriminatory and racist, was rejected.

The Tel Aviv District Court has rejected an appeal by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights and has approved the construction of a new national religious neighborhood in Jaffa's Ajami district, reports Judge Yehuda Zaft said the association's case "suffered from a built-in distortion," as it argued that selling the new apartments only to national religious Jews was discriminatory, but if the apartments were to be sold only to Arabs, it "would not find any fault" with this. According to the report, a storm was sparked by the recent announcement that the Bemuna construction company, which specializes in building Jewish neighborhoods in mixed cities, had won the tender to build a new neighborhood in the Ajami district. Residents of Jaffa protested, and the Association for Civil Rights took up the case and appealed to the District Court, arguing that the tender should be cancelled and that the company's policy of selling its apartments to the national religious population was discriminatory and racist. But Judge Zaft last week ruled that the company had been awarded the tender legally and properly, and that authorized supervisory bodies would still oversee the company's decisions and actions. "On the one hand, the plaintiffs claim the sale of the apartments to the national religious sector is disqualified as long as the apartments are not put up for sale in an equal and non-discriminatory manner," the judge said. "(But) the plaintiffs acted and act to find housing solutions for the Arab community of Jaffa... it seems that if the company had targeted the apartments for marketing to the Arab community in Jaffa, the plaintiffs would not have found any fault." A Bemuna company spokesman said the judge's decision paved the way "for the creation of a new Jewish neighborhood in Jaffa." No response was reported from the association.