How severe is racism in Israel
The annual report of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) draws attention to growing resentment towards the Arab minority in Israel. In the study "The State of Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories" published over the weekend, this finding is attached to several points.
For example, according to the Democracy Index compiled by the Israel Democracy Institute in June this year, only 50% of Jewish Israelis believe that Arabs and Jews should enjoy equal rights in Israel. 55% called on the government to encourage the emigration of Arab Israelis. Just as many of the 1200 respondents were of the opinion that "Arabs would not be able to reach the cultural level of the Jews". 78% of Israel's Jews spoke out against the participation of Arab parties or ministers in an Israeli government.
In April the Center against Racism published statistics according to which the number of racist attacks by Arabs in Israel rose by 26% in 2006 compared to 2005. 30% of the 500 Jewish Israelis surveyed said they felt hatred when they heard people talking in Arabic on the street, 50% said they felt uncomfortable in such situations. A year earlier, these two values were 17 and 38%, respectively.
75% of the survey participants said they did not want to live under one roof with Arabs, 61% did not want to receive Arab guests at home. Every second person stated that they did not want to work under an Arab superior. 51% of the respondents agreed with the statement that the marriage between a Jewish woman and an Arab man represented a betrayal of the State of Israel.
This mood in the Israeli population manifests itself in public, among other things, in "Death to the Arabs" - chanting chants in football stadiums - especially at games in Beitar Jerusalem, or also in draft laws that are presented to the Knesset. For example, bills have been introduced that make the right to vote dependent on performing military service, from which Christian and Muslim Arabs are largely excluded.
Another bill should oblige all Knesset MPs to show loyalty to the State of Israel as a "Jewish State". According to ACRI, this implies a deligitimation of the Arab citizens of Israel, since the realization of fundamental rights is made dependent on the fulfillment of arbitrarily introduced duties.
Equally racist is a bill according to which the land owned by the Jewish National Fund, i.e. around 13% of the state land, is to be given exclusively to Jews. This law was passed by the Knesset with a large majority, but it contradicts the principle of the equality of the citizens.
In addition, the ACRI report draws attention to the fact that the provision has been extended, according to which Palestinian spouses of Israelis are still not allowed to obtain a residence permit for Israel. As early as March 2007, a United Nation of Israel commission asked for this practice to be reconsidered. "The state should ensure that restrictions on family reunification are genuinely necessary and limited in number and not based on nationality, place of residence or membership of a particular community."
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel was founded in 1972 and is now the largest civil rights organization in Israel. Its current president is the author Sami Michael, who himself fled Iraq via Iran to Israel in 1949. In the meantime, members of the police and the Israeli domestic secret service Shin Bet are being trained by ACRI in courses on basic civil rights.
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