Armed with whistles and stickers, members of the ‘Community in Action’ program and others (approximately 20 in total) took to the streets of Tel Aviv for the purpose of erasing racist graffiti from walls and from the public mindset. Planned by ‘Community in Action’ program members, the “Cleaning up the Streets” campaign was about painting over racist graffiti in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, leaving only their sticker as a final message. In preparation for this day, members spent weeks walking all over the city searching for offensive and racist graffiti. Starting early in the morning, the group traveled all over, painting over graffiti, whistling in busy streets to draw the public’s attention, while handing out stickers explaining their actions.
As the group traveled all over, they found large amounts of offensive graffiti by the Central Bus Station, a place where thousands come through daily. It was there that they thought an obstacle might appear. While painting near the station, the group was approached by a weary security guard who, once finding out why they were doing what they were, allowed them to continue without disturbance. Much like the security guard, many people reacted positively and encouraged the group’s action, while some upon reading the sticker were appalled or got upset. Some of the startling graffiti the group came across included: “Stop Immigration, Save Tel Aviv,” “Smash Islamic Scum,” “Only Kahanism” and “Smash the Left Wing.” In total, the group succeeded in erasing over 30 sections of graffiti by the end of the action. While this action may have only affected a small number of people, they are affecting thousands more who will not have to read such cruel and negative comments. In painting over these foul and hateful remarks, the group hopes to paint away hate-driven prejudices and beliefs. While they know it takes more than a little paint to do this, eliminating these graffiti from our lives, near the places we walk daily, they are fostering a more tolerable environment for all.