The National-March 21. 2010
NEVATIM, ISRAEL // The Zakai and Tarabin families should be a picture of happy coexistence across the ethnic divide, a model for others to emulate in Israel.
But Natalie and Weisman Zakai say the past three years – since the Jewish couple offered to rent their home to Bedouin friends, Ahmed and Khalas Tarabin – have been a living hell.
“I have always loved Israel,” said Mrs Zakai, 43. “But to see the depth of the racism of our neighbours has made me question why we live in this country.”
Three of the couple’s six dogs have been mysteriously poisoned; Mrs Zakai’s car has been sprayed with the words ”Arab lover” and the windows smashed; her three children in school are regularly taunted and bullied by other pupils; and a collection of vintage cars in the family’s yard has been set on fire in what police say was an arson attack.
To add to these indignities, the Zakais have spent three years and thousands of dollars battling through the courts against the elected officials of their community of Nevatim, in Israel’s southern Negev desert, who have said they are determined to keep the Tarabins from moving in.