Just over a year after Operation Protective Edge, Jewish shoppers are again abandoning Nazareth. "I've been knee-deep in trouble, yesterday, and all week" Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, whose city's economy depends on Jewish shoppers and tourists, told "Globes."
"On an ordinary Saturday, 20,000-30,000 Jews visit Nazareth, and there wasn't a Jew in the city yesterday," he explained." They make millions on Friday and Saturday, at least NIS 10 million, and they didn't make a cent yesterday. Restaurants were closed, businesses were closed. They came to me in the municipality and wept. We have to work several months in order to bring back commerce back to the city. After Operation Protective Edge, it took us several months to bring the shoppers back, and now it will take us several months again."
Salam directs most of his anger at the Arab MKs. "They staged a parade, and after the parade, they left the young people, who started throwing stones and burning things. Yesterday, it was the Hadash Party's parade (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, I.H.). Before that, it was the parade by Shabaab members. Each time, somebody else is responsible for the destruction. We can't have everyone coming to make a parade in Nazareth. The business owners want to demonstrate against what's happening.
"Most of the MKs want to come for the publicity, to be seen and photographed. I'm sick and tired of them. Let them do something for the benefit of the people who voted for them. I asked the MKs to get out of town - to leave us in peace. I told Ayman Udeh, 'Get out of here. I don't want you to come to Nazareth. You've destroyed my city.'
"I work 24 hours a day to help people in the city earn a living - to build employment and high tech. Let's go to the Prime Minister's Office and make our voices heard there. Here, after they go, the young people burn trees, overturn garbage containers, and do hundreds of thousands of shekels of damage every day. This has been going on for a week now. It's not good for the city, and it's not good for the country.
"I want to tell all the people who call themselves leaders: we have no other way. The only way is to live together. What I'm afraid of now is another intifada. If that happens, it will be different than anything we've been through before. It will be worse."
"Globes": Did the shooting in Afula of a terrorist who lived in Nazareth have an effect?
Salam: "She's a girl with mental problems who tried to commit suicide several times. She's not the issue; the issue is what's happening all over the country."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 11, 2015
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