Who is trying to change the names of Haifa streets to the street names in the period prior to the War of Independence? That's the question currently occupying more than a few city residents, who turned to Mayor Yona Yahav hoping that he will investigate the affair

Over the past few days a few Haifa residents have been amazed to discover that at a number of locations in lower Haifa and the Hadar neighborhood of the city, signs have been posted bearing the inscriptions of the Arabic street names from the period prior to the War of Independence — a period during which Arabs ruled the city.

Thus, for example, at "Ma'ale Hashichrur" [Liberation Heights] Street in lower Haifa a sign was posted bearing the name "Bourj," which means "tower" in Arabic. At "Madregot Hanevi'im [Stairs of the Prophets] Street in the Hadar neighborhood a sign bearing the name "Al-Rahabat" was found, a word whose meaning is uncertain. In two additional instances, signs were destroyed before they could be translated.

A lawyer who is a Haifa resident, and who asked to remain anonymous, said that he found a sign in Arabic with the name of a street from the period before the War of Independence and immediately informed members of the City Council and various public figures.

"Excellent co-existence"

Yaffa Peretz, a member of the City of Council representing the National Religious Party, who was amazed to discover the phenomenon, hurried to submit a proposal for discussion of the matter at the City Council assembly. Peretz turned to Yahav and requested his response. "We must work against this phenomenon. More than a few residents have turned to us regarding this matter. We must discover who is behind this idea." Perez says that she does not believe that the Arab residents of the city are behind the initiative. "The Arabs of the city behave in an exemplary manner, and we live in excellent co-existence with them."

Sources in the Haifa municipality confirmed that a few such signs were found on Haifa's streets but that they were immediately destroyed. According to these same sources, the people behind the initiative are from a movement of Israeli Arabs who do not live in the city. "They will do this at other places in the country. It is important to emphasize that it appears that these are not city residents, but rather people from outside," said a senior city official.