Members of Knesset say law builds a 'collective identity' that will preserve the 'values of democracy.' By Orly Noy A group of MKs from Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Jewish Home recently submitted a bill that calls to rescind the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel. On its own, the bill is neither out of the ordinary nor surprising, as it joins a long list of draft laws that were brought before the Knesset plenum over the past years, including the Citizenship Law, the Nakba Law, the Loyalty Law, the Basic Law that declares Israel as the nation state…Read More... | 3 Comments
Despite institutionalized discrimination, in recent years Palestinian citizens of Israel have increasingly integrated into the economy, political life, academia and general society. The nature of the current assault on Israeli-Arabs launched from both the Knesset and the street is, in fact, a reaction to this integration. By Ron Gerlitz About a month ago I wrote here that the fabric of relations between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel was worsening, and that this was not just an escalation but a frightening new era of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. In retrospect, we were just at the start of the deterioration and…Read More... | 24 Comments
When establishing the Knesset’s Palestinian democratic party, the founders of Balad had to shift their discourse and terminology: from the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of one inclusive democratic state, to the reinvention of Israel as a democratic state, the party's secretary general writes. But has such a shift paid off? By Awad Abdelfattah On the eve of the 2009 Knesset elections, as I stepped off a platform following a political debate, an Israeli journalist approached me. "Is it true that you don’t vote,” she asked, “even though you are secretary general of a party that takes part in elections?”…Read More... | 45 Comments
In a now-infamous radio interview, the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 made it clear she disagreed with the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys. But that part has been edited out of the story by every major news medium except 'Haaretz.' Once again, Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian from Nazareth, is Public Enemy No. 1 in Israel. The Knesset just gave her a bodyguard because of all the death threats she's been getting, and she's being investigated for incitement. Everyone is convinced she endorsed the kidnappings of the three Israeli teenagers. I was convinced, too, after I heard the…Read More... | 48 Comments
Majd Kayyal, 23, a journalist from Haifa who also works as editor for civil rights center Adalah, is out on bail after days of solitary confinement and interrogation since his arrest on Saturday night. The gag order on the case was lifted hours earlier, after activists in Israel and abroad ignored the ban. Update: The Haifa District Court on Thursday morning released Majd Kayyal, a 23-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel and a journalist from Haifa, who was arrested as he was traveling home from Beirut last Saturday night. Police prosecutors who originally applied for an extended remand earlier this week said…Read More... | 2 Comments
Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation. By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements. The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory…Read More... | 23 Comments
Instead of promoting equality and the non-racialization of citizenship in Israel, right-wing MKs are adopting a classic colonial law to weaken the non-Jewish community’s 'threat' to the country's ethnic order. By Amjad Iraqi The Knesset this week enacted a new law that legally distinguishes between Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel regarding employment opportunities. Though the law does not make a significant impact on its own, more bills are expected to be introduced that emphasize the same distinction. The Knesset member behind the bill, Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), believes that such measures promoting the division of Palestinian citizens of Israel will…Read More... | 16 Comments
Imagine if a politician in another country had bragged about lowering a minority group's birthrate - like Netanyahu and his new ambassador to the U.S. did. Ron Dermer, who was named by Netanyahu yesterday to be Israel's new ambassador to the United States, is known as an even more right-wing Republican version of his boss. Haaretz's Barak Ravid wrote: Dermer's positions on policy are far more extreme than Netanyahu's. European and American officials have expressed shock by his positions on the settlement issue, on peace talks with the Palestinians, and on the principle of an independent Palestinian state. It gets…Read More... | 27 Comments
It would do wonders for equality and integration, and Israeli Arabs seem willing to volunteer, but they're being pounded from both sides by Arab and Jewish nationalists. In principle, I don’t think there would be anything unjust in going so far as to draft Israeli Arab youths to do a year or two of civilian national service in hospitals, schools, etc. – even though there is a well-known, deeply entrenched pattern of discrimination against Arab citizens in this country. If it’s unjust to draft them to do national service in an old-age home, it’s much more unjust to force them…Read More... | 24 Comments
The amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law, enacted by the government in 2002 in the midst of the second intifada, prohibits Palestinians from the Occupied Territories and citizens of enemy states from entering into Israel for family reunification. Meanwhile the attacks of the Intifada have stopped and a decade had passed. Separated families, however, continue to pay the price. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPjbJD4REOcRead More... | 15 Comments
When a pleasant tour of the Sea of Galilee turns into a display of potentially deadly racism, life becomes even more complicated for an Israeli representative. It was a gorgeous day to be on the water, and the water itself was gorgeous. The Sea of Galilee, stroked by springtime winds, overlooked by mountains with names as beautiful as the slopes themselves: Arbel, Golan, Jabel Ash-Sheikh, Mt. Canaan. Our group was made up mostly of American tourists. There were two Israelis, myself being one, and one Palestinian. This tour of the Holy Land is given by Mejdi, which offers dual narrative…Read More... | 37 Comments
In the past decade, 76 Arab women have been murdered in domestic violence in Israel. The 'Committee for the Struggle against the Murder of Women in Arab Society' held an event protesting murder and violence against Arab women. Families of the victims are still demanding justice since most of the murderers are still free.Read More... | 9 Comments
Despite the wishes of many -- if not most -- of the people in the streets, the masses who identify with the 'social protest' are callous to those whose complaints are so much more urgent than theirs. Even though I've always agreed with the stated goal of the "social protest" - to redistribute Israel's wealth more equitably - I can no longer sympathize with it. While many if not most of the people in the streets would like to turn the movement against the occupation and not only against "swinish capitalism," this hasn't happened after two years of protest.…Read More... | 17 Comments
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