Throughout much of my life, I have been engaged in attempts to improve Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. But a recent trip to Morocco, where Jews and Muslims lived in harmony for centuries, filled me with hope for my country. Life after the conflict: Act One. By Ron Gerlitz Yes we can. We can imagine good relations between Jews and Arabs here, in the State of Israel, and generally in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the main insight with which I returned from a very meaningful trip together with members of the Shaharit "120"…Read More... | 7 Comments
Right-wing ministers in Israel’s government are putting their own political interests over the economic and social needs of the country’s Arab citizens. By Rawnak Natour and Abed Kanaaneh Arab citizens of the State of Israel have suffered from discrimination by the establishment since the day the country declared independence in 1948, discrimination that is reflected in almost every aspect of their lives: land confiscation, discrimination in housing and employment, extreme disparities in health and educational services, and an absence of infrastructure and proper sources of funding for local government councils. This has given rise to serious problems such as poverty,…Read More...
Though every fifth Israeli citizen is Arab, most Jewish Israelis only know of them and their political thoughts and identity through the Israeli media, and only two polar opposite stereotypes are portrayed in the Hebrew media: the apolitical ‘good Arab’ and the terrorism-supporting ‘bad Arab.’ By Edan Ring Despite the fact that every fifth Israeli citizen is an Arab, media coverage of the most significant minority in the State of Israel is for the most part sparse and one dimensional. Only a small percentage of the interviews and reports in the various media outlets deal with the Arab population, and even…Read More... | 1 Comment
When a country accepts responsibility for such a significant event in its past, one might expect it to erect a monument to the victims, to sponsor the annual memorial ceremony and to honor the memory of those murdered rather than leave the matter to the families left behind, as if it were their problem alone. By Shirley Racah and Abed Kannaneh For most citizens of Israel, the 29th of October was just another day. But not for Israel's Arab citizens. On this date in 1956, 57 years ago — the first day of the Sinai Campaign (the coordinated attack on Egypt…Read More...
The time has come to allow ourselves to see this country not only as the battleground of a national struggle but as a shared homeland, which with painful concessions and tremendous confidence-building efforts on both sides, we can turn into a good place where our children will want to live. By Ron Gerlitz As Israel’s Jewish citizens celebrated the Passover holiday last month, its Arab citizens commemorated Land Day. Land Day is a commemoration of the death of six Arab demonstrators in 1976 while protesting massive government land expropriations in the Galilee for the purpose of building new Jewish communities.…Read More... | 1 Comment
Although Israel's Transportation Ministry has begun promoting green, sustainable transportation, a closer look at the government's program reveals tremendous gaps between public transportation in the Jewish communities and the neighboring Arab communities. By Toby Cohen and Hagit Naali-Joseph Anyone for whom the quality of the environment and the future of the planet are top priorities is probably pleased to read the recently published report to the effect that the city of Ashdod has won a special Transportation Ministry tender to finance a plan that will encourage city residents to switch to public transportation. The prize for the winner is almost unheard of in terms of…Read More...
Israeli society's neglect of the Arab community over the past 20 years has left many Arab citizens with feelings of antagonism or apathy towards the “only democracy in the Middle East.” By Thair Abu-Rass With the Knesset elections only a day away, speculation about the final outcome is at its peak. Most analysts agree that these elections are unpredictable, with the exception of two facts: Bibi Netanyahu will be elected as prime minister, and there will be a considerable boycott of the election among the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. A Haifa University study conducted last month claimed that only 50.7…Read More... | 14 Comments
The leaders of a civil society organization working for equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel spoke on Tuesday before the Trachtenberg committee – the government-appointed panel charged with recommending steps to improve economic and social justice in Israel. The committee's invitation to Ron Gerlitz and Dr. Mary Totry of Sikkuy, the Association for Civil Advancement in Israel, might be partly a response to claims that the committee does not sufficiently represent Arabs in Israel. Headed by Harvard-trained economist Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, the panel was appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and has generated widespread criticism. One sort of criticism actually…Read More... | 2 Comments
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