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Sleeping With the Enemy, Israel-Style

Title credit of ‘Sleeping With the Enemy’ video

Israel’s Channel 10 has uncovered an astonishing display of Jewish racism not against Palestinians, but against fellow Israeli citizens, the Bedouin. It all happened in the town of Kiryat Gat, where the municipal and education authorities, and local police joined together to create a campaign against Jewish girls fraternizing with Bedouin men. In the YouTube age, they even created their own video, Sleeping with the Enemy (I kid you not).

Here is a translation of some of the interview footage from the news report, beginning with a propaganda lecture delivered to high school girls by the town welfare services representative:

Like they warn you to be careful while driving or when they warn you to be careful when swimming in the sea and there’s a black flag and a red flag–when it’s allowed and when it’s forbidden–the same thing we’re doing to warn girls of this unnatural phenomenon.

In an on-camera interview the representative continues:

The [Jewish] girls, in their innocence, hook up with Bedouin Arabs who exploit them. She sleeps with the enemy without realizing it.

The video also quotes from the Koran in an attempt to show the girls that Islam mistreats women.

Further in the video a representative of a religious organization which discourages inter-ethnic relationships talks about the deceit with which Arabs begin their flirtations:

The affair begins as superficial love which appears to be authentic. Many times the girl doesn’t even know she’s going with someone who is a minority. He introduces himself with a Hebrew name and speaks Hebrew fluently.

The idea that this project might be racist seems never to have crossed these people’s minds:

Whoever calls this [program] ‘racist’ doesn’t know what he’s talking about because we’re not talking here about mutual exploitation. We’re talking about racism on their [the Arabs'] part because they come to us to exploit the girl, then throw her to the winds once she gets pregnant. Then the whole problem becomes doubled.

Zvi Solow, who teaches at Ben Gurion University, provides this thumbnail political-economic-social sketch of Kiryat Gat, which helps explain the prudish, moralizing, and racist nature of this campaign:

Kiriat Gat is an ex “development-town” where in the early 1950′s Government settled mainly eastern-origin [Mizrahi] new olim and encouraged the then “traditional” blue collar industries to open plants in order to provide work. Kiriat Gat was the home of the Polgat textile network of factories and the now older-generation of its inhabitants mostly worked there. The Israeli textile industry went the way of most blue-collar industries in the age of globalisation and free trade.  The last Polgat plant shut down some months ago, with the media featuring human interest stories of families who both worked there for decades and were facing either early retirement on a meagre pension, or life on the dole.

Anticipating this, all Israeli governments encouraged Intel to open its big manufacturing operation in Kiriat Gat and they just opened its second big plant there. Intel Kiriat Gat is a success by all the usual criteria, but for most Kiriat Gat inhabitants, who lack the necessary technological & linguistic (English) skills, it only offers menial jobs (cleaning, security etc). Most of the high tech people commute to work or choose to live in nearby moshavim or kibbutzim in one-family houses (they can afford it).

In the last decade, Kiriat Gat also absorbed a group of ex-Soviet olim, many of them retirees.

This demographic mix makes it naturally observant (Orthodox), conservative (Zeevik Boim now a minister in Olmert’s government, was for years its mayor on behalf of the permanent Likud majority), & of course hawkish & anti-Arab.

There are no neighbouring (by Israeli standards) Bedouin settlements, but the Bedouin town of Rahat is only about a 30-minute drive away.

Nana offers a longer version of the video and accompanying Hebrew language article.

Let’s keep in mind that not only are these Bedouin citizens of the State, they also serve important roles in the IDF as trackers. They are as loyal and willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their country as Jews. So why do some Israeli citizens consider them the enemy? If there is a social problem in Kiryat Gat with girls and unwanted pregnancies is this the proper way to approach the issue?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • SimoHurtta July 2, 2008, 1:29 AM

    It would be interesting to know, even I already know, the Israeli / Jewish reaction if such a video would have been made in Arab countries or in Europe. Do not sleep with Jews video would certainly create an unheard loud anti-Semitism, Nazi etc screaming. Many Israelis say to these kind of embarrassing stories like this video, well we have freedom of speech in Israel. When the logical counter question is asked “well why can’t we say about Jews the same you say about us others”, the answer is, that it is anti-Semitic to say such things about Jews. An interesting view of freedom of speech.

  • Josh July 2, 2008, 7:08 AM

    First of all, it’s racist and stupid and will only serve to make the “allure” of Arab boys even stronger for Jewish girls. Adolescent girls in any country are always looking to piss off their parents by dating a rebel or bad boy or whatever, and in Israel that is almost always an Arab.
    Second of all, I had the opportunity to serve and talk to many Bedouin (and Druze) while in the Army. Trackers are just one job, they also are Hummer drivers, as well as regular soldiers and commanders in the all-Bedouin infantry battalion charged with patrolling the border with Egypt, and sometimes Gaza- though this battalion is the main smuggler of drugs into Israel (many of the battalion’s commanders have been fired for rampant corruption, and the general perspective in the army is that the battalion is much more trouble than it’s worth). When we were bored on patrol, or just hanging out on base, we would talk about what any group of soldiers talks about- women. And the common thread that I picked up from every Bedouin that I talked to is that they get satisfaction out of sleeping with a girl and leaving her (like everyone else) but especially out of sleeping with Jewish girls, like that’s their way of getting back at the government which they feel discriminates against them. I’m not saying this is justified or right/wrong, I’m just telling you what they told me, repeatedly.
    And one thing you can be sure is, when Arabs and Jews marry (it happens, though very seldom) there is just as much outrage from the Arab side as there is from the Jewish side. There is very real racism on both sides of the coin. If Jews view the Arabs as the enemy, as you say, then the Arabs definitely view the Jews as the enemy. If I’ve learned one thing from living in Israel, it’s that there is no good/bad. Everyone is equally bad.
    Oh, and one more thing. Beduoin are given a choice whether or not to serve in the army, and most, regrettably, decline. The percentage of soldiers is much higher in the Druze community.
    Cheers and keep up the good work.

  • bar_kochba132 July 2, 2008, 12:26 PM

    II am sure you are aware that Beduin women are told the same thing. Islam prohibits marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. Beduin women who have any sort of social relationship with non-Muslim men face the severest penalties (“family honor killings”).

  • SimoHurtta July 3, 2008, 12:23 AM

    If I’ve learned one thing from living in Israel, it’s that there is no good/bad. Everyone is equally bad.

    I have encountered this kind reasoning many times when discussing with Israeli an Israel supporting Jews. Well, equally could the Holocaust be nullified using such language.

    Of course Palestinians (Israeli citizens and others) attitude towards Jews is determined by how the Jewish state treats and has been treating them. Who would like the cruel occupier turning his people as second class citizens or slaves (the non Israeli Palestinians) and seeing their lands being robbed and relatives killed and tortured.

    As an European Christian it is easier to understand why Palestinians hate Israeli Jews, than why Israeli Jews hate Palestinians/Arabs. Israelis seem to hate Palestinians because they do not voluntarily give their last lands and waters and some of them even want to resist using force.

  • bar_kochba132 July 3, 2008, 7:26 AM


    Then I guess you European Christians feel it is justified for us Jews to hate you as well, considering how you treated us for centuries. I suggest you not go around judging us if you don’t know the whole story, as you clearly don’t.

  • evildoer July 3, 2008, 10:14 AM

    ichard Silverstein from Tikun Olam also blogged about the same issue of racism in Kiryat Gat. His post covers the story well, and of course it is a story worth covering. But Silverstein also follows it with some questionable commentary.

    First, he quotes one Zvi Solow explaining that Kyriat Gat is a conservative and prudish place because it is home to Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries) and lots of unemployment and social neglect. This supposedly explains racism in Israel as a product of poverty and ignorance. It is allegedly the domain of unemployed mizrahim living in problem towns, Russian immigrants, etc. Blaming racism on the poor is a liberal gambit that never fails. And the poor in this case are themselves from Arab origins. Hence, Silverstein essentially implies, probably without even being aware of it, that Arab culture is the source of Jewish racism against Arabs in Israel. This is “blaming the victims” raised to the power of two.

    the full commentary @

  • Richard Silverstein July 3, 2008, 10:49 PM

    @evildoer: A zuchen vey. You did a very lazy read of Zvi’s comments. He didn’t say Kiryat Gat IS a Mizrahi town. He said it was ORIGINALLY settled by Mizrahi immigrants in the 1950s. He said nothing about the current town being Mizrahi or this incident having anything to do with Mizrahis.

    Zvi noted the high unemployment in the town and frustration over lost jobs & incomes. He implied that such resentments might fuel anti-Bedouin racism, which seems an eminently reasonable assumption. Further, such sentiment might have something to do with the fact that 1/3 of the town are Russian immigrants (who are notoriously known to be anti-Arab), and the fact that there is a strong Orthodox element living there (Orthodox Jews also tend to be more anti-Arab than the avg. Israeli).

    That’s what we really said. Your entire comment is a crock.

  • evildoer July 4, 2008, 2:23 AM

    …..this thumbnail political-economic-social sketch of Kiryat Gat, which helps EXPLAIN the prudish, moralizing, and racist nature of this campaign:

    You said the explanation for racism is socio-economic status. That is what you said, and that is what I disagree with. crock, shrock. Whatever, feel free to be as insulting as your heart desires.

  • Richard Silverstein July 4, 2008, 12:13 PM


    No, again you’re cherry-picking my argument for yr own convenience. Anyone I can isolate one sentence & try to make it appear it was my entire argument. But that isn’t the case. I described a multitude of factors some political, some economic, some social, some religious, some ethnic. None of them predominate. All contribute to the moral climate of the place.

    If you actually read what I wrote & characterized it properly (still disagreeing w. me would be fine) then I wouldn’t be insulting.