Refugees' flat torched in Ashdod
Burning tire thrown at apartment's door; five Sudanese nationals lightly hurt. Police: This is a very serious incident
Shmulik Hadad • Ynet
Five Sudanese nationals suffered from smoke inhalation on Saturday after an unknown assailant tried to set fire to their apartment in the southern city of Ashdod.
A burning tire was thrown at the apartment's door, and after they were rescued the refugees were evacuated to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. One of them suffered from a bruise in his hand after trying to break the glass window in order to escape the flames.
The incident took place on Yoseftal Street, where more than 200 Sudanese are said to be living. The neighborhood's residents have protested the infiltrators' presence several times in the past few weeks.
Shortly after the burning tire hit the door, the entire apartment was engulfed in flames and its inhabitants couldn’t get out. The only window had bars on it, and one of the refugees was hurt while trying to pull them out and break the glass.
Luckily, they all managed to jump outside. Firefighters were dispatched to the area after local residents began helping the Sudanese put out the fire.
"We heard the noise and saw the smoke coming up," one of the neighbors said. "We went downstairs to help them, and managed to put out the fire together with the firefighters."
Local residents and storeowners said they were certain that the tenants' descent was the reason for the incident.
One of the five Sudanese said Sunday, "We still don't know who did it. All we wanted was to live here, and we haven't done anything to anyone."
After being discharged from the hospital, the five returned to the one-room apartment they all live in together.
The Ashdod Police said in response that "this is a very serious incident. We are looking into a number of leads and will act according to our findings."
The head of Ashdod's haredi yeshiva was quoted two weeks ago as saying that being racist is, in effect, a Torah command:
"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."
Did haredim set this fire?
It doesn't really matter.
What matters is that Israel's government and many of its rabbis have made racism kosher.
That should appal you. But chances are, the more Orthodox you are, the more it will not. In the same way, the more connected to Israel you are, the more it won't.
And that is very sad.