Wednesday, October 29

Mahmoud Darwish - Invitation

The Jaffa "Rabita" (League for the Arabs of Jaffa) organization and "Social Workers for Peace" are organizing an evening in the memory of the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

The evening will be held in Arabic and Hebrew on October 30th, 2008 at the Rabita Building, 73 Yefet Street in Jaffa, from 19.30.

Prof. Sasson Somekh of Tel Aviv University will lecture about Mahmoud Darwish
Actor Mousa Zehalka will read poetry.

The evening will be facilitated by Ms. Sheikha Haliwa.

Leib Ben Sara Street

Leib Ben Sara is one of those small dead-end alleys in Jaffa, close to what is now a military court. Until 1948 the building of the military court was a Palestinian family home. Many of the homes in the street were constructed during the period of the British mandate by middle class families. As part of the Naqbe the homes were "registered" (=stolen) by the Israel Land Authority as "left property" and some were rented out to people by means of a public housing company.
Others were "given" to the army, which uses them up to this very day. Quite a few old Jaffa buildings are in use by the army. "Occupied" would be a good term to describe it.
Many people have forgotten these buildings should really be put to the use of the local Arab community by means of the waqf or the churches, but that's not what i want to write about here. That's part of a larger story, i should pay attention to. It's just that the military court is located in this small street.

The first part (close to the court) of the street is paved, The rest is full of potholes which fill up with water during the rainy period and turn the street into dangerous walking and driving territory. My elderly friend Suham, who lives there, tripped a few times and as a result has to be hospitalised.
Some 5 years ago the residents asked the municipality to intervene and carry out the necessary and long overdue repairs. Promises were made, but nothing happened.

Suham decided to do something about it and organised a petition which was signed by all residents and sent out to Gilad Peled, the Mishlama's (Jaffa's impotent sub-municipality) head. Hopefully, in this period of local elections something will be done about it.

An answer had not yet been provided. The street is small, paving it properly shouldn't be a problem. Or at least filling up the pot-holes immedediately and carry out all the necessaru repairs within a few days.
But then, this is Jaffa and we are talking about an alley not popular with the wealthy new-comers. An area not favoured by the gentrifiers. But perhaps, with the elections coming, up the municipality will do something about it. Huldai is trying to prove he has improved a lot in Jaffa, invested a lot in the infrastructure. Some of these claims are true, but the investments have been made only where the very wealthy live and that is not Leib Ben Sara street.

Friday, October 24

Preparing the party for whom?

Chinese construction workers are frantically running around, while Russian speaking carpenters are assembling the hardwood deck and fences surrounding the building. A huge tent has been erected and electricians prepare light fixtures outside. A gorilla-sized guy from a private security company sits idle on a small chair, overlooking the sea. Small children play in the little public sports play ground that has been prepared just outside the Peres Center for Peace.
The kids are the only locals in the immediate area. No one from Jaffa seems to be employed here.

I sneak inside the compound to have a look at things. My eyes catch sight of a pig-ugly statue of an anorectic looking grotesquely long-necked woman releasing iron doves upward into the sky. It looks straight out of the fifties and is heavy on symbolism. The sort of statue used in shopping malls; not offensive to anyone, sort of "pretty" and "pleasing" but not carrying any weight. With the money spent here, they could have done better. But then, the whole building is such a colonialist mis-fit. And very symbolic of what is happening in Jaffa, in the country, in the Middle East.
Inside , the building is more or less empty, unfinished. Natural light, but very stuffy. There are no windows to be seen (except for the top floor, facing the sea), there is a lot of glass, but not one window which can be opened to let in fresh air. Weird, because close to the beach there is almost always a nice wind, even on hot days. Just open the windows on the shadow side of the building to let in the breeze, and you will not need air-conditioning. Not so in this building, they'll either be cooking or waste much electricity on keeping cool, i guess.

The inauguration ceremony is a few days away and the building is far from ready. The beach surrounding it has been cleaned, the road towards the beach, which has been coming apart over the last several years, has been repaired as well and newly asphalted. The area surrounding the huge pipe passing underneath the center and ending on Ajami beach (the rain overflow from Pardes Dake) has been cleaned, amazing what they're wiling to do in order to impress the foreign guests.
That area of Jaffa hasn't been so clean for ages.
Now and then kids from the neighborhood pass by to have a lok.

I have finally deteced the entrance of the building. It faces the sea and when arriving from the street you need to go all around in order to find it. "Most welcoming".

The building could be used as a shelter for many of Jaffa's homeless and poor families. That would be a great use for it. Then maybe it would turn into something that could become part of the community. One could also operate an art center for kids in it. A community center. Although not inviting nor pleasant, i can think of a few uses for it. Obviously more entrances should be made into it. To let the neighbors in. Ad windows, for a fresh breeze.

Thursday, October 23

Peres Center for Peace about to be inaugurated

On the beach (and that's much less than 300 meters from the water line - by law no construction should be allowed) and next to Jaffa's ancient Muslim grave-yard a weird looking construction, designed by a couple of Italian architects, the Fuksas, (were there no Israeli or, heaven forbid, Palestinian architects?) has been going up over the last several years, overlooking the lovely Mediterranean: The Peres Center for Peace.

Another neighbour of the center is the "Shem HaGdolim"/"Kedem 163" public housing estate, the worst one in Jaffa (and we have quite a collection of shitty public housing estates - thanks once more, Halamish)
A neighbour rather less quiet than the sea, even on a stormy day.

The greenish stripy building does not fit in and looks "not belonging". Sometimes contrast works. Not so, in this case. A colonialist presence looking oppressive rather than inviting. It does not say "dialogue" but "fuck off", having an open face (and obviously a beautiful view when you look out from the inside), only towards the sea. Towards the street and the heavy construction looks closed off, locked, like a safe, windowless, doorless, forbidding instead of inviting.
The spot is lovely, but the building doesn't interact with it. It's closed off to our neighbourhood of open doors and windows, of strong light and air.

A more important question is, of course, whether we will interact with the building, or rather, what will be going on inside it: an auditorium, a research library (will they be open to us, mere and simple neighbours?) . We have not been invited to the ceremony, which is supposed to take place between October 26-28, 2008.
Perhaps we should invite ourselves. After all, parties in Jaffa tend to be public, not so?

Oh, and i just wonder. they did not construct a parking place, so i guess they will be using the one belonging to our beach, which will , so i guess, become privatised for the events which will ofcourse be heavily guarded. Just guessing the last part....

Wednesday, October 22

Police beat up handcuffed boys in Jaffa

A fight erupted between a few young boys from Jaffa's public "Shem HaGdolim" housing estate and a yeshiva student.
The word on the street -which perhaps may be not correct- is that they plan to build a yeshiva right in front of a nearby mosque. To the best of my knowledge the yeshiva is on the corner of Toulouse street and Korchak street. But rumours have their ways. Perhaps they do pan to build another yeshiva close to the mosque.
In any case, a fight erupted. Apparently there had been words (death to the Arabs) and insults before, or so it is being said.
The police was called and they arrested three boys. The wrong boys by the way, not the ones who had been in a fight with the guy from the yeshiva. The kids arrested, were at home at the time of the fight.
While the boys were under arrest and handcuffed, the police beat them up. Another kid managed to film it on his phone camera. The kid bragged about it, stating he would complain about it or take the film to the media. As a result, the unlucky photographer was arrested as well and kept for more than 24 hours at the police station, his phone taken from him and the film wiped out.
While under arrest, the kids were threatened that they would go to jail for 5-10 years, as "we are dealing with activitןes against the safety of the state". Young boys, all minors, according to the juvenile law, from good homes, who had nothing to do with the fight yet were intimidated, while not having access to legal advice.
So much for democracy. "Acco" is closeby it appears.
The atmosphere on the streets is one of fear. Last week three flats in Tel Aviv's HaTikva neighborhood were torched by ultra right wingers. The common ground: all three flats were inhabited by Arabs. I call it a progrom.
Last week grafiti was sprayed inside a building on Jaffa's Jerusalem Boulevard; "Death to the Arabs".
Speaking to my friend Zeinab and others, we wonder what we can do to prevent further violence. And we don't really know.

Flying Carpet on Fire

The Flying Carpet travel agency in 13 Tirza Street in Jaffa was torched two days ago.
The premises were completely burnt out. A little girl living next door was lightly hurt by the smoke.
About two weeks ago a bike store on Jersualem Boulevard was torched as well. The word on the street is "protection".
The police are investigating

Jaffa Welfare Storage Rooms Torched

Last night the storage rooms of the municipal welfare department in Jaffa (Rubinstein Street) were torched.
So far no arrests have been made.
The Welfare department serving all of Ajami moved to alternative housing several months ago, after their previous (also temporary offices) above a petrol station, were found to contain dangerous chemicals.
The offices were moved to Rubinstein Street, to an old school building, where several employees share classrooms. As a result, clients have little or no privacy. And ofcourse the conditions aren't easy for the employees either.
But worse, it is almost impossible to reach these offices, as no direct buses pass by.
People have to take 2 buses in each direction, where before they could simply walk. Especially for the elderly and families with young children this is a major problem. After all, most welfare clients do not have cars. And public transport isn't cheap for people dependent on social security. It's also quite a hassle and time consuming.

Thursday, October 16

Six trees, the Janosh Korchak park, perhaps a grave or two and Dankner, THE Dankner

Susan contacted me: "they are uprooting the trees next to my home", she said. The little park at the crossing of Toulouse and Korchak streets in Jaffa.
My first reaction was one of not comprehending. I know that little park. Sometimes i sit there, below the trees to read a book, or think and watch the sea.
My friend Halil owns a plot there, inherited from his late aunt, although it appears it was sold to the Dankner family in a some sort of deal and not by the inheritor and actual owner, Halil.
I wonder if i should mention it here, i cannot afford to be sued by the Dankners.

So: it's what's being said, OK, not sure. Maybe someone stole the plot from Halil. It wouldn't be the first time, in Jaffa.

But the trees were being uprooted, that's for sure.
Adult "Eshel" trees. I don't know their name in English.
There is something so violent about uprooting a tree. They even had a permit for it, so the police couldn't interfere. All of the neighbourhood were outside, trying to prevent it. Some of them even stood in front of the bulldozer.
The Israel Land Authority (the so-called owners) want to build a road and a parking lot over there, so they came to uproot the trees. They stated they had informed the neighbours and "no one disagreed". Yeah right, only , all the neighbours were out there, and no one had heard anything about this plan. All they know is that it is supposed to be a park. So the Land Authority are lying, very simple. They did not inform anyone, because they expected to be stopped. They came over the holiday, so people wouldn't be able to stop them, as all offices and courts are closed.

For the time being the uprooting has been stopped. Who knows. When your name is Dankner you can pull a few.... Lawyer Tagrid Gahshan will assist the neighbours in filing a suite against the Israel Land Authority to stop further uprooting and the construction of a parking lot where there is a park right now.

Oh, and about the graves? Well, some people state the park is the site of an ancient burial site, making it unfit for building in the first place, at least according to tradition.

another article (in Hebrew)
and in English

Wednesday, October 15

Humus, Chips and Salad (as well as Solidarity)

Abigail Rubin was supposed to perform "Humus Chips and Salad" with her troupe at the Acco Festival.

As Acco's Alternative Theatre Festival has been cancelled, the play will be performed at Jaffa's Arab Hebrew Theatre "Al Seraya" this Thursday, the 16th at 21.00.

The play deals with the relationship between the festival Acco's Palestinian population. The Acco based "Said's Humus Restaurant" (i ate there yesterday, it truly is great humus) who are active participants in the show, will serve humus as a part of the performance, included in the price of the ticket.

So in order to enjoy good theatre, humus and demonstrate your solidarity with Acco's people and the artists who spent much time in preparuing for a cancelled festival, come!

The image was made yesterday in the "Peace Suka" in Acco. The text behind the speaker reads "Stop Racism"

Tuesday, October 14

Akko, for a change

Akko's old city was empty today. Some local kids, the occasional woman buying some vegetables for dinner. At the sea front a single fisherman. The harbour: empty. Trays of delicious and tempting nut-candy find no buyers.
The restaurants: the owners of nearby empty coffeeshops and humus places share a coffee and a languid game of sheshbesh.
And police, yes, there were quite a few police men for such an empty town.

Normally during Sukot, Akko is host the the alternative theatre festival; lots of shows in many of Akko's ancient halls as well as in the streets, filled with tourists who arrive annually especially for the festival.

Not this year.

Right-wing extremists carried out a pogrom against Akko's Palestinian population. Three homes of Palestinian families were torched and completely burnt and several more families have had to leave their homes and have not yet been able to return. They are waiting until it will be safe again. But will it?

When Palestinian wounded were carried to ambulances, the police watched and stood by when the angry mob attacked them.

The theatre festival could have been used as a place to come together, to talk, to try to deal with the conflict. The theatre festival takes place far away from the troubled "Mizrahi" neighborhood where the pogrom took place. Its cancellation was the mayor's punishment of Akko's Arab population.
The Palestinian population of the Old City depend for their livelyhood on the festival. It's the one week of the year when Akko is full and festival participants spend much money eating out, buying drinks, sweets and trinkets.
Cancellation the festival robs all of Akko's people of a fun event, and theatre lovers of a quality experience, but it hurts the people of the Old City, many of whom are poor, of their livelihood.

Yet the implications go beyond Akko.
A similar situation could easily arise in all of the mixed cities, where the Palestinians have been undergoing decades long discrimination in all fields: education and culture, welfare, housing, employment etc etc.

Jaffa in that sense is very much like Akko.
Yet, violence is preventable. It really depends on how wise we all are.

Having an extremist yeshiva right in the middle of Ajami doesn't help and is potentially dangerous.

Monday, October 13

Rightwing extremists endangering the peace in Jaffa as well

Some weeks ago a "hesder" yeshiva (Jewish religious academy) was opened in Ajami. An old synagogue that had been standing standing unused and boarded up for many years, at the end of Toulouse Street, is its center and flats in the area have been bought or rented, financed (so the rumour goes) by Moskowitz, for its students.
I have absolutely nothing against yeshivot, and very much respect religion, of any kind. As long as it is not abused for political and nationalist purposes, of any kind.
I also believe that people should be able to live where they want, as long as it is not at the cost of their neighbours, who, in this case, happened to be there way before them.

Ajami was constructed by "tribal" Muslim families at the onset of the 20th century, when Jaffa's old city was becoming too cramped. It's city walls had been taken down. And the wealthier people of al communities moved out to start new "garden" neighbourhoods in the surrounding areas.
They tended to do so on lands previously owned by their families and used for growing grapes, grain or oranges etc. , on which they constructed homes for the family, its sons and their families. As the new neighborhoods were family oriented (in the tribal sense of that word). thus neighborhoods were formed alongside tribal and religious lines, including Jewish garden neighborhoods: What is now Neve Zedek, was initially a Jaffa "garden neighborhood" for Jaffa's Jewish population. The wealthy Chelouche family, who had been living in Jaffa since the early 19th century, moved there amongst others.

In 1948 the very large majority of Jaffa's Palestinian population had been forced out (or killed) and the former cultural center of Palestine. the "Bride of the Sea, as Jaffa was known, had become a mere shadow of its former self.
Only about 3000 Palestinans had been left. Ajami was encircled by a barbed wire fence and became a prison camp for these 3000.
Many of Ajami's majestic homes stood empty and crmubling down, when large waves of immigrants started to arrive. They moved into Ajami and shared the homes with the 3000 already living there.
Often in a home which had previously housed one wealthy family, now each room housed a family and all shared the kitchen and the bathroom.
Many people remember this period not with bad feelings. Everyone was dirt poor, both the Arab families and the Jewish ones. But when women have to share the kitchen and the kids play together, relationships are formed. Friendly ones.
Many of Jaffa's women, who were girls at the time, told me about these relations. How they felt comfortable falling asleep in the room of the neighbouring mummy when back from school, how all kids ate at each others' homes, how the boys held long going football matches or went fishing and swimming together. The mothers shared whatever, because that was the natural thing to do.
Yes , i am aware of the naqbe, the Palestinian catastrophe and do not try to make "light" of it. I realize this was a situation forced upon the Palestinian families and they had no choice in having to share their homes with the newcomers. Not a simple or pleasant situation. But reality and Jaffa's women were stronger than that.

Ajami had become a slum, for poor people. The houses were in a terrible condition and were not repaired by the "Israel land administration" who had overtaken ownership and forced people to sign rental contracts, often for their homes they had previously owned. They knew how to take the rent, but not how to do maintenance.
The idea was to let Ajami deteriorate and then break down everything and replace it with apartment buildings of the well-known "shikun" (a typical Israeli public housing style) type.
Thus, it was impossible for the inhabitats to maintain the homes, because there was no "municipal building plan" for Ajami and therefore it was impossible to get any kind of legal building permit, as these are related to the official building plan, which, as previously stated, did not exist. A logic worth of Kafka, if you consider it "non intentional". Or of Mephisto, because, i think, it was VERY much intended.
Over three thousand homes were destroyed, their rubble thrown onto Ajami's beach to form what we call "the "Garbage Hill", the grave of Ajami's naqbe.

Many of the Jewish families had been offered housing in newly contructed public housing in Yafo Gimmel and Daled, or in nearby Bat Yam and further away Rishon leZion.
Thus, Ajami became a predominantly (about 80%) Muslim neighbourhood once more. Poor and neglected. A slum no one cared about.
A few Jewish families stayed there, some artists and young people moved in as they were either too poor to live elsewhere in Tel Aviv or saw the beauty and charm underneath the thick layer of grime and fell in love with Ajami. Ajami's synagogues fell into disuse and were boarded up. There was no minyan and no need for them any longer. Most of the Jewish families living in today's Ajami are not religious. Some are traditional.

Today's Ajami has a small Jewish community, about 20% of the population. Some are the ultra-rich newcomers, living in their big villas. Every morning they get into their gaz slurping 4 wheel monsters for the arduous trip to their work in Tel Aviv. They do not really live in Ajami, only their fortified home exist in Jaffa's geographical space. They are not part of our community, except for, perhaps, buying their wines and meat at one of the Hinawi stores of great quality.

Jaffa's school system is not good (understatement of the century), unless you can afford to go private (very expensive) or are accepted into one of the two selective Jewish schools, "the open democratic school" or the "nature school". And to get into those schools, the parents need to talk the talk and walk the walk. In addition they cost a lot of money, although they are officially "public" schools, therefore should be free. They are not. They are good schools with lots of special programs and great teachers. And the parents pay for it, a lot.
Thus these schools are colored; very "white 'n wealthy". If you do not belng, it's not easy to get your kids in. The other kids are forced into the "other schools", which are indeed "other".
The educational system serves the formation of problematic social strata and reinforces the distribution of wealth. That's for Jaffa's Jewish children.

For the Arab children there exist excellent private (Freres [French Jesuits], Tabitha [Church of Scotland], Terra Santa [Italian nuns] or Greek Orothodox) schools. As they are private they cost a lot of money, so are open only to few.

The rest of the kids have to go to the horrid, third rate public schools. Only some make it to the better, but selective, Ajial school or to the newly created Arab Democratic School, which has not yet been authorised and experiencing serious problems.

The implications of the built-in discrmination are obvious, hard and unfair.

For Jewish parents if your children are not accepted into the two good schools (or if you cannot afford it) you can move elsewhere. And some do. Jewish Friends of mine left Jaffa because they could not afford the good schools and preferred not to send their kids to the lousy public ones. They were able to.
For Arab Parents there is no alternative, as they cannot move int0 Tel Aviv etc.. Thus, the education system also "served" (and still does so) as a strong devider and definer of who lives where.

So why am i not happy these "Hesder Yeshiva"people moved in? After all it's "good" when educational establishments move into the neighborhood, no?
NO, because they are not a naive well-meaning "educational establishment" serving the local population, who have absolutely no need for their "services". If their intentions had been those of the local Jewish community, they would have moved not into Ajami, but into nearby Jaffa Gimmel or Daled neighbourhoods, where there are large traditional and religious Jewish communities, mostly from Boukharian background. Many of them recent migrants with religious or traditional background and who can do with assistance and help getting succesfully absobed nto Israeli soceity. there, the Hesder guys would have been truly answering a need.

The hesder guys came here as colonialists would. They have no wish to be part of the local community, but rather to replace it. The synagogues in the area had stayed boarded up for many years, because those who needed their services had left and the Jews who stayed behind are not religious. At most they would open up the synagogue for the "High Holidays" and close it afterwards, for a lack of need.
They come here to provoke, to cause unrest. And it is easy to do that. Very little is needed to create that an Accre of situation in Jaffa. They do not wish for peaceful coexistence and cooperation, but to replace the local Muslim population.
It is also possible to prevent violence just around the corner. Having a zionist colonialist extremist type establishment (that serves no exisiting religious Jewish community, as they claim) in the middle of a predominantly Muslim neighborhood is a cause for trouble, rather than furthering coexistence.

Saturday, October 11

Only in Jaffa

Another walk around Jaffa, checking out Shahar's new camera.
Looking for things to test it on, in order to learn its limits and options. Looking for small things to take various test images, that's how we came to notice it: house nr. 7 1/2.
I know about 7 A, 7 B etc. about 7 entrance 2 apartment 5 but house seven and a half?
Half a house?
Could be, it's Jaffa after all.

The streets used to be numbered, although slowly they are being given names. In fact a few new names (finally Palestinian ones) have been decided upon.
The municipality finally started listening, or maybe it has something to do with the upcoming municipal elections. Throw a few municipal peanuts to make us feel good, it doesn't cost much after all. After some of the streets will be renamed there will be 16 streets in all of Tel Aviv Jaffa named after Palestinians (and Egyptian - Anwaer el Sadat).
I would love to live in Seven and a half Emile Habibi street (wherever that is going to be), or 19 1/3 Ibn Haldoun or some such.

Just walking around in Jaffa with my friend Shahar

Shahar bought a new tiny "lumix"camera, so we had to go and try it out, walking around in late afternoon Ajami, when the sunlight turns even old iron into gold.

Shahar has two pampered cats, his flatmate another 3. I'm allergic to cat-hair, so visiting the premises is usually a problematic asthma related experience.

But i like cats a lot, especially the Jaffa street cats of great courage and of course the stone cat at the cat fountain in one of my favourite tiny public gardens in Jaffa.

Sitting down for a rest and a chat in a quiet corner in another one of Jaffa's little public gardens, a weird and rather tall guy came over, carrying a big iron thing in his hands. He sat down quite close by and we realized something was not entirely OK with the guy. We decided to take no chances and got up. While we were walking out of the garden he threw the iron thing he had been carrying at us, missing my leg. He followed us for a while, but the streets, already dark by that time, were busy.
A somewhat unpleasant ending to a nice walking tour.

Thursday, October 9

Murder in Jaffa

Yesterday afternoon the stabbed body of en elderly man was found in a garbage can storage room at 9 Tirza street (in Jaffa's "Noga" area).
The man had been living with a carer, who was at home at the time the body was found. It appears none of the neighbours had heard anything
The police believe he was murdered but no other information is available at this time, or rather allowed to be published.


The victim was 78 year old Moshe Maimon, apparently known to be quite wealthy. The police suspect he may have been stabbed during an attempt to rob him.

Study in pink

Yom Kipur in Jaffa, just staying at home and without leaving my desk, spying a little on my neighbours living in the pink building next door.
It's public housing for Jaffa's elderly.

Today it's so quiet i can hear their conversations, in Arabic, in Russian and a number of other languages. No Hebrew so far.
A few cars in the street, with loud music, declaring their presence.

It's Jaffa after all.

Yom Kipur 2008

Monday, October 6

Naji Needs Your Help

Naji is 5 years old, almost 6.
He lives in Jaffa, with his mother and sister.

He should go to kindergarten, but the only kindergarten willing to accept him is located on the premises of the Asaf HaRofeh Hospital and demands an emergency unit nurse to be present at Naji's side at all hours. The Ministry of Health is unwilling to pay for this and The Ministry of Education do not think they are responsible either., so Naji is at home.

Naji has no wheelchair although he needs one.
Naji has no leg supports, although he needs them, urgently.
Naji does not receive physiotherapy, although he needs it.
Nor does Naji receive speech therapy, which he also needs.
Naji needs much help. but he doesn't get it.

Naji is connected to a oxygen supply machine pushing air into his lungs 24 hours a day and needs around-the-clock care. Naji is unable to breathe for himself, because of a rare disorder, called "Pompe Disease"*. His very dedicated mother, Intisar, takes care of him. Every 20 minutes Naji needs to be suctioned in order to clean his airway. At night Naji needs to be turned over as he cannot easily do so himself. Intisar is always there for him, but she has little energy left.
His younger brother died from the same disease a year ago. The death of Naji's brother allowed the medical staff to understand the nature of Naji's problem. Naji is receiving medicine to stop the advancing damage, but much damage has been done.
Naji wants to live.

Naji is his real name and the child in the picture is him. I publish this picture on his mother's full request to do so, as Naji needs help and is not receiving it.

His mother is fighting for Naji's rights, but the bureaucracy is hell.

Oh and something else, Naji, who has serious breathing problems, is living in a flat surrounded by a sewage swamp. The house owner (public housing company Halamish) and the Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality are fighting over whose responsibility it is to pay for the repair. In the mean time Naji cannot leave his home because of the swamp, yet cannot bear to stay home because of the stink.

Naji NEEDS help urgently, yours.

This article may be copied and spread around, maybe someone will wake up.

* Pompe disease is a rare (estimated at 1 in every 40,000 births), inherited and often fatal disorder that disables the heart and muscles. It is caused by mutations in a gene that makes an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase (GAA). Normally, the body uses GAA to break down glycogen, a stored form of sugar used for energy. But in Pompe disease, mutations in the GAA gene reduce or completely eliminate this essential enzyme. Excessive amounts of glycogen accumulate everywhere in the body, but the cells of the heart and skeletal muscles are the most seriously affected. Researchers have identified up to 70 different mutations in the GAA gene that cause the symptoms of Pompe disease, which can vary widely in terms of age of onset and severity. The severity of the disease and the age of onset are related to the degree of enzyme deficiency.

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