Posted By The Jerusalem Post On March 18, 2017 09:02:56A group of young men dressed in black with long, dark hair, gathered on the street of the town of Tzafrir in southern Israel.
They were holding a sign that read “Stop hating our land.”
It was not the first time they had seen this sign.
But it was the first of many that they would use in the coming days.
For the next few days, they would spread the sign in the streets of Tzufta and around the country, taking on roles for the next five months.
“You will have a lot of people telling you what to do,” said Shlomo Zalman, a Tzalfrir resident who has been posting his signs on social media.
“It’s not enough to just tell them to stay away.
We have to show them how to stay out of our community.
They have to understand that we are an Arab community and they can come to Tzufr.”
The signs are part of a nationwide campaign, called #TzafrIzra, launched by the group Stop Hating Israel, to warn against the spread of hate in the Arab community.
It is a tactic that has been used by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the past to curb anti-Semitism.
The campaign is a response to growing social media activity and a growing public sentiment against Arabs.
In recent weeks, hate crimes against Arabs have spiked.
Last year, at least 13 Arab men were killed in Jerusalem, the most in the city’s history.
And in 2016, an Arab woman was killed in a shooting rampage in Tel Aviv.
“It’s hard to explain what is happening to us, but I think it’s the same as all other communities,” said Rami Rabin, a 23-year-old resident of Tazr and a member of Stop Haming.
“We’re the target of hate, and that is the only way we can stop it.”
The campaign was created to counter the growing trend of Arab Israelis being attacked in their own neighborhoods, and to bring awareness to the fact that the Arabs who are attacking us are not our enemies.
It was started by a group of friends, some of whom have gone to work in the business world.
They are all working to create a platform to help Arab Israelis who are victims of hate.
One of the men who started the campaign is 24-year old Avigdor Shteinman.
He said he decided to join the campaign after reading a newspaper article on the Israeli army’s crackdown on protesters.
“We have to stop being scared, because we are not the enemy,” Shteinmans mother, Elisabeth, told Al Jazeera.
“So I started taking photos of the signs and started spreading the word.”
The first sign was posted by Elisabella Shteinmann.
She said she saw the signs when she was out walking with friends, and decided to take a photo.
“When I went to the grocery store, I saw a sign of the soldiers who had attacked the protesters.
They had no uniforms on.
I started photographing it, and the next day, people started telling me what to write on it,” she said.
She also started taking photographs of the sign.
“The first day, I was really shocked,” she explained.
“I thought I was going to lose my job.”
For the past two years, she has been organizing and distributing signs and stickers to Arabs.
Shteinmen said that as a parent of two daughters, she is worried about how her daughters will see the signs, because she is a woman who is in charge of their education.
“I know my daughters are not going to read the signs because they are Arab and they have a different view of what is going on,” she told Aljazeera.
“They will see this as a sign to stop us from growing.
They will say that they want to learn Hebrew.
And they are going to hate us.”
The second sign was created by a 20-year older woman who has worked in the construction industry.
She started collecting signs from residents of the neighborhood and distributing them to them, including in the area of the Tzefrir bridge.
She also started handing out stickers to people who have not yet read them.
“If they see this on a sign, they will start to see that it is the same message that the soldiers are spreading,” she added.
Shteinmans first sign became the most popular, and she posted a photo of it on Facebook.
“Today, there were more than 20,000 people sharing it,” said Elisabel.
“And this was only the first sign, but it was a big success.”
Another sign that started the trend, posted by 24-month-old Aya, who also has a daughter, became the second most popular.
“The second most common sign I saw was from the people of Tuz.