TEL AVIV (May. 24)
Regular and border police were deployed in force Thursday to guard areas where Arab day laborers from the administered territories wait to be hired by employers in Israel.
The protection was ordered following Sunday’s massacre of seven Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip and West Bank by a reputedly deranged former Israel Defense Force soldier, who sprayed them with bullets in a hiring area near Rishon le-Zion, south of Tel Aviv.
But the protectors seemed to outnumber the protected, observers noted Thursday. Relatively few Arabs from the territories showed up looking for work, in what have come to be known as the “slave markets.”
Most Arabs from the Gaza Strip stayed home to mourn the dead, although the IDF was ready to lift the curfew sufficiently to let them leave for work.
Meanwhile, the Histadrut Executive Committee, with the notable absence of its Likud members, joined Jewish and Arab delegates from local workers committees at a special memorial session Thursday for the Rishon le-Zion victims.
The Likud representatives boycotted the session claiming it would only give the enemy another opportunity for “Israel-bashing.”
In the end, Arab speakers were more moderate than many of their Jewish colleagues.