+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

'Israel Hayom,' where democracy is for Jews alone

The pro-Netanyahu newspaper launched a new online questionnaire to help readers decide which party represents them. Jewish readers, that is.

By Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye’

Israel Hayom, the most widely-distributed newspaper in the country, continues to exclude Arab citizens from its coverage of the upcoming elections. A new web-based initiative that gives the reader the opportunity to learn which political party supports his or her worldview is geared toward Jews only, like many of the polls conducted by the newspaper.

Joint List leader, Ayman Odeh, speaks during the party's Hebrew-language launch event, Tel Aviv, February 11, 2015. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Joint List leader, Ayman Odeh, speaks during the party’s Hebrew-language launch event, Tel Aviv, February 11, 2015. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Until recently, Israel Hayom’s elections coverage section included a header with photos of all the party heads who are expected to be elected to the next Knesset. That is, except for the non-Jewish parties. After Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad united form the Joint List, Ayman Odeh’s face went missing from the header. Odeh, who leads the Joint List, finally managed to make it into the header last week, although now it turns out that this was nothing more than a momentary victory in the struggle over fair elections coverage.

On Thursday morning, the front page of Israel Hayom included the headline “Test yourself: Which party fits you?” The paper invited its readers to go to its website to “find out where they fit on the political map of the 2015 elections.” The online questionnaire was created in partnership with the Hagal-Hahadash polling company. After doing answering several questions, the reader can discover which party is closest to his or her political beliefs.

The Joint List was missing from the initiative launch. The reader is asked to respond to questions on the economy, security and religion, but is only matched up with the positions of the Jewish parties. The Joint List was added shortly thereafter, but the final question still remains, clarifying for whom the whole thing exists in the first place: “How do you define yourself? First as a Jew and then as an Israeli, or first as an Israeli and then as a Jew?”

An Israeli citizen who is not Jewish and wants to fill out the questionnaire cannot answer the last question. For Israel Hayom, democracy is for Jews alone.

This article was first published in Hebrew by The 7th Eye media watchdog website. It is reproduced here with permission.

Israeli media coverage: An election with no Arabs?
Israeli election coverage: ‘Our Ahmad is named Ayman’

Election Coverage banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Solemn4

      Wow. So many logical problems with this article it is hard to know where to start.

      A Hebrew-language newspaper which has a readership which is conservatively 99.5% Jewish puts out a poll targeted towards 99.5% of its readers. This apparently is an example of the newspaper believing democracy to be for Jews alone. Come on.. You are smart enough to not make such retarded stupid logical leaps.

      I wonder if an Arabic-language newspaper will include Jewish Home or Yachad in a poll of its readers. I mean, you know, back when its readers actually might have had a choice between lots of different parties to vote for.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Absolutely S4. Back in the 1960s there were doubtless newspapers in the southern states asking their readers if their Protestantism was more important than their White Anglo-Saxonness.

        Can I ask you if you made up the figure of a 99.5% Jewish readership or if you can quote a source for that. The Israel Democracy Institute suggests otherwise, saying “It even contributed to bringing Israel’s Arab public closer to the Israeli mainstream: although the paper’s editorial staff does not take readers in that sector into account, not even in its public opinion polls”. It seems unlikely that a newspaper read by one third of Israelis, reaches 199 Jews for every Arab who reads it.

        But even if the readership were to be entirely Jewish would it not be highly likely that some readers would like a dominant Jewish ethnocracy, but many others would want Israel to be a state of all its citizens. Remember the racism and supremacism of Israel’s political leadership is deeply unrepresentative of the many tolerant, pluralist and educated Jews (and Arabs) who compose Israeli society.

        By the way, congratulations on coming up with a pseudonym which rhymes with Kolumn4, though please do not adopt him as your mentor.

        Reply to Comment
        • Solemn4

          This is the same person as Kolumn4.

          99.5% was a made up figure which I think is reasonable. In any case, Israel haYom is a right-wing Hebrew language newspaper. Israel haYom is not distributed in the Arab villages and towns and is not even likely to be present in the Arab neighborhoods of the mixed cities. That really only leaves a small minority of Israeli Arabs that could even if they wanted to read that newspaper. However, most of the Arab sector reads newspapers in Arabic (for obvious reasons) and those that opt for Hebrew-language newspapers are far more likely to choose Haaretz or Yediot because Israel haYom is a right-wing newspaper that is unlikely to match their views. Basically, the Arab readership of Israel haYom consists of Israeli Arabs that pick it up because someone left it on a train.

          Almost no one reading Israel haYom would want Israel to be a state of all its citizens, given the connotation it carries of leaving Jews as a weak persecuted minority in yet another failed Muslim Arab state. This is the view of the overwhelming majority of the Jewish population and the political leadership accordingly places the defense of the Jewish State at the top of the list of its priorities.

          Again, it is a newspaper with a very specific audience and its polling has nothing to do with democracy or lack thereof.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Your connotation is BS. Typical Netanyahu fear mongering. The far right peddles fear.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          So first you admit that you invented a figure of 99.5% of the readership of Israel Hayom being Jewish, then you admit that you have not an honest bone in your body but are merely another reincarnation of another racist supremacist ever present on this site – then you ask us to take your point of view seriously, Go away you disingenuous shilling misinformer, and leave this space to honest commentators with integrity like Ginger, Pedro and Big Cat.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      25% if Israeli citizens are not Jewish, as reported by Haaretz a few years ago. (20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinian, as everyone acknowledges – an additional 5% aren’t Palestinian but also aren’t Jewish).

      The question is: what does it mean for those who aren’t Jewish that they live in a “Jewish state”? That’s what this article is investigating.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        OFF TOPIC as usual, Mr. Bruce Gould! And you are posting the same comment you have posted here in the past and gotten correct feedbacks on. Your claim as to “that is what this article is investigating” is false and indicative of the fact that you know what you are doing: propagandizing!


        1. “Jewish State” means a State in which Jews are a majority. Compare that to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, the UAE, Egypt, etc. were Arabs are the majority and Denmark, Austria, Ireland, France, etc. were the ethnic Danes, resp. ethnic Austrians/Germans, resp. ethnic Irish, resp. ethnic French are the majority. The Jewish State has Jewish character just like Jordan has Arabic symbols and character and The Netherlands and Switzerland have Dutch- resp. Swiss symbols and character.

        2. All, and I mean ALL, Citizens of the Jewish State are equal under the law- regardless of (a) race, (b) ethnicity, (c) religion, (d) sex, (e) age, (f) etc. Although Israel is one of a few major Western Democracy with no written Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed on the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, provides that the State will ‘maintain equality of social and political rights for all its Citizens, irrespective of race, religion or sex’. It also include an appeal to the non-Jewish Arab-population ‘to take part in the building of the State and the footing of full and equal nationality and appropriate representation of all its organs. The Israeli Supreme Court has Ruled that the Declaration Of Independence has Normative Character re the ‘Equality Clause’.

        3. MOREOVER, the protection of Human Dignity is enshrined in the Basic Law of the State Of Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court has consistently ruled that even though the Principle of Equality is not mentioned in the Basic Law as such, it nevertheless has Constitutional status. The Court held that Equality Principle has a “Supralegal Status” and is a central Constitutional Principle that lies at the heart of the Human Dignity Clause enshrined in the Basic Law.

        The Israeli Court headed by Supreme Court is the Ultimate Guarantor of the Equality of all Citizens of the Jewish State, and is, as the most Powerful Organ in the Jewish State, the Ultimate Gatekeeper of the State.

        (Read more on Israel’s minorities here: http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/people/pages/society-%20minority%20communities.aspx)

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          A state with a Jewish majority where all citizens are equal under the law i.e., a state of all its citizens?? Hallelujah! What have we been fighting about all these years? Time to shake hands and make up! There’s a long ways to go to achieve that but at least we agree on the goal!

          Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          ” All, and I mean ALL, Citizens of the Jewish State are equal under the law” – unless you are a woman seeking to sit at the front of the bus whilst menstruating on the journey to the Orthodox settlements, or unless you are an Arab wanting to rent a property or not fall foul of the planning regulations or unless you are a Mizrahi seeking recognition in the Israel prize or to earn a fair wage for a fair days’ work. Come on Ginger, don’t be so crazy in spouting your Hasbara – accept the fall-back position that Israel, like all other states is not perfect, but we are working incredibly hard to rectify our shortcomings.

          Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            My goodness, Bryan, there you go again with comments to Ginger that is partly revolting. What has “menstruation” got to do with any of this? What kind of nasty creatures are your people – you and Brian I mean?!

            The British law and the laws of other EU countries guarantee the equality of all their citizens. But today in Britain and across Continental Europe, women are still discriminated against when it comes to certain professions, jobs, salaries/equal payment for equal work, etc. Minorities in Britain and EU countries, especially Muslims and Africans face discrimination worse than British/European White women and worse than Arab minorities in Israel. My point is that there is discrimination AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL in every human society in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America – irrespective of what the law says. You and Brian overlook that and single Israel out for a problem that is far worse in your own countries, Britain and the United States. This story here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/racial-discrimination-against-black-and-ethnic-minority-trainee-doctors-cant-be-ruled-out-warns-expert-8876498.html got me turning literarily red! What have you both ever done- and are doing currently to make your countries better? Why this fixation on- and obsession with Jews and Israel?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Are you saying that the concept of ‘niddah’ in Orthodox Judaism is revolting? How can women have practical equality when it is held that they are unclean during menstruation, that any seat she uses becomes unclean, and that any man who might subsequently sit on that seat also becomes impure. The state employs rabbis who propagate this medieval idea aimed at keeping women in their place. How is this different from the ethnic segregation of buses in the old south. It is applied however not only to buses but to praying at the Western wall, to Orthodox political demonstrations (e.g. against the draft) and even to the pavements of Orthodox areas of cities. The courts have been very reluctant historically to deal with such discrimination. It is not only about what they law says or does not say; it is about how laws are applied.

            Your argument that discrimination is worse in Britain is very unconvincing. One report found there were major differences in outcome between white and ethnic minority doctors, but found “no evidence of discrimination”.

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Yes, Bryan, I am saying that you are a very dirty, revolting old man. Compare the lofty, erudite and highly academic post from Ginger to your filth and note the difference. When it comes to democracy and human rights, your country is in a worse shape than Israel. If you are about ‘equality’, begin with your own country FIRST. Start with British Muslims, Arabs, Pakistanis, Black African Brits, Blacks from other continents, asylum seekers, etc. The level of racial discrimination alone is horrendous in Great Britain. Help your country first and quit your irrational obsession with Jews and Israel. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/race-discrimination-in-universities-still-a-problem-reports-survey/2012474.article

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            More evidence

            “Black And Minority Ethnic Women ‘Discriminated Against At Every Stage’ Of Recruitment Process”.


            There are hundreds of more evidence of racial discrimination in Britain; the horrendous discrimination against British Muslims; child-sexual-abuse in the Church and government intuitions; discrimination of women in work places, human trafficking and sex-slavery, etc. Are you really so fixated on- and obsessed with Jews and Israel that you can’t notice the evil taking place in your own country, Bryan? Do you now realize why I tell you and your brother Brian that obsession with Jews and Israel is a psychiatric illness? If you continue your denials, I will post more links to continue to prove you wrong.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Tomer

      5% of Israel represents those that are not Jewish according to strict Jewish law. They are spouses of Jews, have a Jewish father or 1 Jewish grandparent etc. This population should be included in the Larger Jewish Population. Then, about 1% of the Arab population are Druse & Circassians who consider themselves Israelis and hate the fabricated p people. So, in effect only some 19% of the population should be considered “p” people. Of these, some 3% are Jerusalemites who boycott the Israeli political process. So the fake “p” community is some 16% of the electorate.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        So are you saying Tomer that only about 70% of the Israeli population are Jewish, and many of them are so disgusted with the racism exhibited by the majority that that they are ashamed to call themselves Jewish, so that rather than Israel being the state of the Jewish nation it is actually the state of the non-Jewish nation.

        Reply to Comment