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Israeli mayor bans Arab workers from certain job sites

In the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Mayor Itamar Shimoni announced he will not allow Israeli Arab construction workers to complete their jobs renovating bomb shelters at kindergartens in the town.

The mayor also asked for an increase in security at construction sites with Arab laborers, The Associated Press reports. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Shimoni's act was illegal, while the Arab civil rights group Adalah called the order "arbitrary and racist." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We must not generalize about an entire public due to a small and violent minority. The vast majority of Israel's Arab citizens are law abiding and whoever breaks the law — we will take determined and vigorous action against him."

Shimoni said he decided to act after the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue earlier this week that killed five. "Anyone who thinks this is illegal can take me to court," he said. "At this time, I prefer to be taken to court and not, God forbid, to attend the funeral of one of the children from kindergarten."