The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar wanted to surprise a group of twenty Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabuim village in the south of the country.
Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.”
Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies.
The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.” The report added that Ben-Gurion University agreed to allow the children to use its facilities.
Racism at public facilities in Israel
This shocking incident came to light just days after it emerged that another Israeli facility, the theme park Superland, segregates Jewish and Arab students on separate days.
While Arab and Jewish children in Israel attend separate and unequal schools, racial segregation in public facilities like parks or pools is not mandated by law as it was in apartheid South Africa or the United States. But Palestinian citizens of Israel have habitually faced discrimination.
As for millions more Palestinians living under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel’s strict closures, sieges and permit system effectively bar them from most recreational facilities, parks and beaches in historic Palestine.
In recent years, Palestinian and Israeli women have challenged these draconian movement restrictions by going on “illegal” trips to the beach together.
The latest cases of swimming pool racism are reminiscent of an incident caught on video last year when Palestinian families were turned away from a resort near the Dead Sea as Europeans, Israelis and dogs were allowed to enter freely.