“The Neighbors Who Get Rich on Our Account”
This prologue describes the 1959 Wadi Salib riots in the city of Haifa in Israel. After the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948, the Arabs who inhabited Haifa fled. Their homes were then occupied by Mizrahi Jews—Jews who were born in Muslim-majority countries, mostly from Morocco. Unfortunately, their background made them a target for discrimination by local Israeli Jews. On 9 July 1959, police confronted a Wadi Salib resident, Ya’akov Akiva (Elkarif), who was drunk and disturbing the peace. Akiva resisted arrest and was shot at by Israeli police. For the Mizrahi Jews, Akiva’s shooting was the last straw. The first episode of the Wadi Salib riots began the following day, as approximately 150–200 people gathered in front of the Rambam synagogue, waving black flags and placards and calling for justice.
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