Arab In Israel: Two Stories From Lod
These snapshots are excerpts from a reporter's notebook -- scenes encountered on the ground in their most raw form.
Sewage in the Streets for Arabs in Lod
LOD, ISRAEL -- Just a couple dozen kilometers outside of bustling, highly developed Tel Aviv is the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Lod, Israel. Lod lies at the crossroads of ethnic and economic underprivilege in Israel, and many of its Arab neighborhoods suffer from poor access to public services.
Resident Yousef Altory, 41, paints the scene in the video below of how raw sewage seeps into the streets -- right outside the only school in the neighborhood for all the kids, aged five through 18.
Yousef Altory on Sanitation in Lod:
A Home, Demolished, in Israel
Hani Khawaja, 54, a lifelong resident of the Arab neighborhood in Lod — just outside of Tel Aviv — received such a bill after his house was recently bulldozed.
His story was told via the help of translator and guide Khalil Aby Shehadi, who lives in the same Arab neighborhood in Lod that is known as the "Railway Station Neighborhood" because the train tracks run adjacent to the corrugated iron homes.
"To demolish a house, it costs a lot of money. It's about half a million shekels, that's about $150,000. When they come, they bring the police with them. They close the two entrances to the neighborhood," said Shehadi. "We can't go to school, we can't go to the hospital, we can't go anywhere. At 4:30 in the morning, they closed the neighborhood. They put police everywhere, on horses, on cars, on foot. And helicopters. There were 250 policemen."
The helicopter cost 1,000 shekels per half hour. Cleaning the rubble costs another 70,000 shekels.
"They – he and his small children, tried to take everything out of their house. They took them out by force," continued Shehadi. "They destroyed the house with everything in it. Schoolbags, books, everything! Refrigerator, everything! Everything, yes."
Khawaja's blacksmith salary of $1200 a month leaves him unable to pay for the razing of his house. And so he doesn't pay. He won't pay. Somewhere in the Israeli administrative system, Khawaja is slowly racking up fees and travel restrictions.
He is not alone. There are 1400 other demolition orders in his neighborhood.