19 | 04 | 2019

Thousands of social workers gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Monday, December 17, to protest their poor work conditions. In addition, around the country they paralyzed all social services in a strike to protest the violence social workers are frequently subjected to and their low wages.

Two parents, Gadoah and Amal Zabarka, were shot to death in their car as their six-year-old son sat in the back seat in Lod on Saturday night, December 15. Another man, Ali Abu Al-Rihan, was fatally shot in the same city hours later and a fourth victim to gunshot violence, Mahmoud Abu-Dayeh, was killed in a shooting in the town of Yafia, near Nazareth.

Wearing yellow fluorescent safety vests similar to those worn by protesters in France during the past month, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Friday, December 14, to protest Israel’s high cost of living. The demonstrators blocked the Azrieli intersection in the city center; 10 were arrested on allegations of disorderly conduct during clashes with the police.

Social workers suspended all welfare services in Tel Aviv and the central part of the country, from Gedera in the south to Hedera in the north, on Thursday, December 13, calling for urgent reforms to guarantee their physical protection, provide them with higher salaries, and grant them overall improved working conditions.  Since last week, the Social Workers Union has been striking daily on a rotational basis in different regions of the country, during which there is no reception of the public, no committee meetings related to child safety and domestic violence, and no preparation of court briefings.

Demonstrations were held on Wednesday, December 12, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Sakhnin, Acre, Beer-Sheva and other locations throughout Israel following the brutal murder of yet another women, the 25th victim of femicide this year.

Thirty-year-old Eman Ahmad Awad was found stabbed and in critical condition in her home in the northern town of Acre on Tuesday, December 11. Paramedics who arrived at the scene fought to resuscitate Awad before declaring her dead. Police have opened an investigation into the incident.

Haifa council member-elect Raja Zaatry, who has been the target of far-right government pressures to block his appointment as deputy mayor for weeks, withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday, December 12. In a press conference held in the northern city, Zaatry told those assembled that he has no intention of apologizing for his views, but said Hadash had decided to appoint a fellow city council member, Shahira Shalbi, as deputy mayor in his stead.

Following Zaatry’s announcement Shalabi said: “I respect Haifa’s residents; a city has remained sane, one that opposes incitement and racism. The Israeli public wants us. I am pleased to be Kalish-Rotem’s partner.” According to the coalition agreement, Shalabi is to serve as a deputy mayor during the second half of the new mayor’s term. Rabbi Dov Haiyun (Meretz) will serve the first half of the term.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the most prominent of a growing list of far-right Israeli political figures calling for rescinding the appointment of Communist Raja Zaatry as deputy major of Haifa. On Sunday, December 9, Netanyahu said that he had asked newly elected Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem to cancel the appointment of a deputy mayor “who supports Hezbollah and Hamas, organizations that declare their wish to destroy the State of Israel. I hope this request will be answered, and I am happy that [Interior Minister] Aryeh Deri began his involvement on this matter.” Nevertheless, Kalisch-Rotem has refused heed to Netanyahu’s request.

Likud MK Yoav Kisch has sent a letter to Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri asking him to reject the request authorizing a salary for new Deputy Haifa Mayor Raja Zaatry (Hadash). Kisch’s letter comes as the far-right racist backlash to Zaatry’s appointment continues to gain momentum. Zaatry, is the head of the Haifa branch of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI).

In a meeting with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis was introduced on Monday, December 3, to the leader of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), who also held talks with Left parties while in Rome.

MK Odeh told the leader of the Roman Catholic Church: “I bring with me a present: two rocks from the villages of Ikrit and Biram.” In 1948, Israeli soldiers uprooted from their homes the residents of Ikrit and Biram, two predominantly Christian villages in northern Galilee, “until the security situation makes possible their return.” In 1951, Israel’s High Court ruled that the villagers should be allowed to return “so long as no emergency decree” against this is issued. The government hastened to issue such a decree against the Ikrit evacuees, and two months later, the Israeli army blew up the houses in that village. In 1953, it similarly demolished the houses of Biram. Only the churches of the two villages were left standing. Two years later, the lands of Ikrit and Biram – 16,000 and 12,000 dunams respectively – were expropriated by the Israeli regime.

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