One group of Israelis is working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen of Israel feels like they belong, regardless of religion or ethnicity. By Uzzi Ornan (Translated by Jordan Michaeli) There is a discriminatory regime in Israel, a regime under which citizens are granted and denied rights on the basis of whether they are Jews or non-Jews. Separate laws were made to determine citizens' personal status or issues such as the state's official days of rest. Even if an Israeli citizen does not believe the government should be able to decide whether they “belong” (or if they "belong") to any…Read More... | 45 Comments
Israel Supreme Court
Israel's judges rarely question whether the Interior Ministry may not actually be an expert on immigration matters, or whether it might be making decisions without asking the right questions - even when someone's life is on the line. The courts generally accept any, or nearly any, factual claim provided by the Interior Ministry regarding individuals whose requests for status in Israel were rejected. Judge Daphne Barak Erez's dissenting opinion in the verdict recently handed down by the Supreme Court reveals (a small portion of) the techniques used by the Interior Ministry to review facts. The dissenting opinion, presented in light…Read More... | 2 Comments
The eviction of a Palestinian family from their home in Sheikh Jarrah, planned for today, has been delayed by two months. The Shamasneh family was slated to be evicted from their home at 2:00 p.m. today, December 31, so that the Israeli Custodian for Absentee Property could take possession of the house. The Jerusalem District Court ordered the eviction to be postponed until March 1, 2013 after the family's lawyer appealed to Israel's high court. Activists and politicians who support the Shamasnehs in their fight to stay in their East Jerusalem home emphasize that this is just a temporary postponement…Read More... | 7 Comments
The High Court of Justice re-validated a law defining the demolition of settlements as "traumatic" – and denying claims that demolition of Palestinian houses is just as bad. A couple of years ago I was asked to participate in a televised debate (Hebrew) with a right-wing conscientious objector, Avi Biber, who became famous when he dramatically abandoned his unit while dismantling settlements in the Gaza Strip as part of the Disengagement Plan. One of the less obvious disagreements we had revolved around the question of how to define our separate acts: While I argued that we both have in common a belief…Read More... | 11 Comments
Recent rejection by the Israeli High Court of the final petitions against Israel's Citizenship Law – which denies status in Israel to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens – was described as a "watershed" ruling. Watershed indeed, but how exactly? By Hagai El-Ad Justice Asher Grunis, the Israeli supreme court judge who will become the court's next president in February, kept his opinion sufficiently brief for the bluntness-and-brevity to stick between the lines. He opted to air his opinion in the court's recent decision to reject the petitions against Israel's Citizenship Law, with the following succinct quote: "Human rights are not…Read More... | 15 Comments
In Israel, exceptions to the law justify the occupation, and protective measures do not protect those to whom the measures are applied. The state of exception is slowly but surely crossing the green line. By Noam Wiener Twice in the last few days, “special circumstances” have made news in Israel. First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested setting aside regular criminal procedure and trying settlers who are suspected of terrorizing the Palestinian population in special courts. Second, the Israeli Supreme Court used the special nature of the Israeli occupation as a justification in its decision on quarrying rights in the West…Read More... | 5 Comments
Neve Gordon argues that the 'boycott bill' is a turning point in the erosion of Israeli democracy, and part of the Knesset's greater strategy in which the next target is the Supreme Court By Neve Gordon Political change is slow. One doesn't go to sleep in a democracy and wake up in a fascist regime. The citizens of Egypt and Tunisia can attest to the fact that the opposite is also true: dictatorship does not become democracy overnight. Any political change of such magnitude is the result of a lot of hard work and is always incremental, indicating that there…Read More... | 5 Comments
This week, Israel’s Supreme Court chipped away at one of the most egregious Israeli practices: the infamous security examinations of Palestinian/Arab citizens at Israeli airports. The Court, responding to a 2007 petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel against the Israel Airports Authority, the General Security Services and the Ministry of Transportation, directed the three bodies to justify why they discriminate against an ethnic group, instead of conducting their security examinations based on uniform criteria for all citizens. The airport experience is one of the most naked examples of brutal inequality in Israel. Its logic, as well as…Read More... | 9 Comments
Like all decent people, I am moved and humbled that justice has been done and a verdict has convicted former President Moshe Katzav on all counts of rape, sexual harassment and assault. No less important, the judges chastised Katzav severely for his attempt to cover up his crimes and deny them to the public, the court, and himself. The women have found justice. A powerful message has been sent to all those who would abuse people by manipulating their power, betting on the patriarchy of silence to protect them. Officials and commentators are saying repeatedly that this proves Israel's democracy…Read More... | 5 Comments
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