Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations has published an academic paper by Hani Ramadan Taleb entitled “The Role of Torah Nucleus in the Coastal Cities of Israel: Lod as an Example,” in Arabic.
This study explores the Torah Nucleus (Garin Torani), its emergence and growing impact on the survival of the Palestinian minority in the coastal cities. The author takes Lod city as an example, and explores the group’s effectiveness, role and activities.
Taleb studies the measures taken by the Israeli authorities all over historic Palestine, after the 1948 Nakbah: The gathering of the Palestinian indigenous people, who remained in the coastal cities, in specific neighborhoods; the demolition of large parts of coastal cities and their neighborhoods; the confiscation of Palestinian property; and following the policy of Judaization and the intensification of settlement building. As a result, extremist racist Israeli groups emerged, known as the Torah Nucleus. They settled in the heart of the coastal cities, and associated with Zionist gangs; who sought to deceive the Palestinians and control the real estate and housing sector, and then displace them. They even used violence, murder and massacres to realize their dream of a complete takeover of the land.
Taleb pointed out that the Hebrew state, since its inception, has adopted a system of “the welfare state,” by providing all the social and economic needs of the Jews, but after that, the tendency toward privatization began to appear. In 1977, the Israeli right-wing parties rose to power, which led to the weakness of the state and the strengthening of society. In 1985, liberal economic policies were adopted, and an economic elite emerged pushing towards the free market. They kept the state away from economic activity, abandoned gradually the social welfare policy and adopted privatization programs, which affected the middle and poor classes, not to mention that poverty increased. However, Israel managed to contain these changes, and alleviate the resentment of the people with demagogic rhetoric. It exploited those classes and made them the popular base for the ruling right-wing parties, and conditioned their access to services on their membership in these parties. It also supported settlement groups, and increased settlement building. As for the rich class, it became richer, and its wealth doubled, while the Arab neighborhoods in coastal cities, were neglected and the Palestinians were confined to ghettos. This has impoverished the Palestinian inhabitants, who suffer to this day from poor housing, and social and economic hardships. The ruling class adopted neoliberalism that pushes for the privatization of real estate ownership in these neighborhoods, thus pushing the Palestinians into vacating their homes and leaving for the benefit of the rich Jewish citizens.
The Torah Nucleus group was established in Kiryat Shmona in the late 1960s, and it grew during the term of the then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005. They have encroaching settlement projects in the cities and towns of the 1948 occupied territories, and their central goal is to besiege the indigenous Palestinians of the country, intimidate them, until they are finally expelled from the coastal cities, such as Ramleh, Jaffa, Acre and Lod. There are more than sixty Torah Nucleus groups all over Israel. They consider that the belief and practice of the Jewish religion must include activities to Judaize the public space, and purify it from any non-Jew. Supported and funded by various ministries, public resources and Jewish communities abroad, the Torah Nucleus groups work systematically to Judaize any city, and erase the history and memories of the indigenous people.
Taleb stated that the Torah Nucleus group in Lod is one of the strongest and most extreme in Israel, therefore the city was literaly affected by every major event in Palestine, from the dismantling of Gaza settlements, to the expansion of the railway, to the Oslo Accords, and when religious Zionist groups became part of the ruling class. This has led to the exacerbation of the economic crises of Palestinians, the increase of security tensions, and the threatening of safety and life of the population there. As a result, the demographic situation of Lod changed in favor of strengthening the Torah Nucleus group. This is what the city witnessed following the May 2021 uprising, when the Israeli authorities tightened its grip on the Arab neighborhoods of the city, turning them into military barracks, and allowing settlers to carry out attacks on Arab citizens, in a more intense and aggressive manner.
The study concludes that the project of the Torah Nucleus group in the 1948 territories, and in coastal cities in particular, cannot be considered in any way a spontaneous or chaotic project, or that it belongs to a marginal group. Rather, the group is employed by the government to complete the implementation of its colonial project, replacing and displacing the Palestinians located in the remaining Palestinian lands and cities within the Green Line. Moreover, under the guise of relatively separating settlement activity from government decisions, through privatization, and under the slogan of development and improvement, we can witness the continuation of the indirect ethnic cleansing operations against the Palestinian minority.
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>>Academic Paper: The Role of Torah Nucleus in the Coastal Cities of Israel: Lod as an Example (Arabic) (30 pages, 1.9 MB)
By: Hani Ramadan Taleb. (Exclusively for al-Zaytouna Centre).
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 25/7/2022