+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

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

Israeli government to back law allowing discrimination against Palestinians, ultra-Orthodox

The Israeli government’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided today (Sunday) to back a bill by MK Yariv Levin (Likud) which will allow discrimination against Arabs and ultra-Orthodox in employment and real-estate rights.

According for the suggested legislation, favoring people who served in the IDF will not be considered discrimination nor will it be challengeable in court. Since Palestinian citizens of Israel are not required to serve in the military and most ultra-Orthodox are exempted from doing so, the new bill will give employers and real-estate owners a legal way to reject Palestinian applicants.

Palestinians are underrepresented in almost all areas of public life in Israel. While they constitute 20 percent of the population, only 8 percent of the public sector’s workers are Palestinian. Unemployment is higher among Palestinians, and two-thirds of Palestinian citizen’s children grow up beneath the poverty line.

“On the one hand, the government claims that participation of Palestinians and ultra-Orthodox in the workforce should increase, while at the same time, it initiate laws which are meant to leave them out of it,” Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On told Ynet News.

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. Kolumn9

      This law would favor people who contributed several years of their lives to the state. Think of it as corrective discrimination or as a post-ww2 GI Bill if it makes you feel better. The Haredim are welcome to do military service and the Arabs are welcome to do civilian service to get the full advantage of these benefits (whatever they might be).

      Reply to Comment
      • This is purely propaganda; I would expect a more serious comment from you.

        The main reason that this couldn’t be corrective discrimination is that there is no under-representation of the “discriminated” group, but the opposite.

        the government get create tools to benefit those who serves (as it has been doing – but it can do much more). But what it does here is letting all the employers and house-owners in Israel a simple, no-brainier tool to reject Arabs.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Apologies for disappointing you. I believe that people that spend three years in the military or several years in civilian or national service do deserve compensation for their effort and of them very many are not members of the elite. You can theoretically limit the benefits to those who need the corrective discrimination in compensation for their service but to argue that everyone who serves in the army is automatically overrepresented is propaganda. There are plenty of Ethiopians and Mizrahim and Druze and Bedouin and Arabs and… gasp.. even poor Russians and Ashkenazim from the periphery who do their military service or national service and wind up stuck in a low socio-economic status.

          You are also wrong in classifying this as allowing employers and house-owners to discriminate against or reject Arabs. Where did you get that from? The article clearly states that this is a program meant to give preference in government provided services, land and employment opportunities.

          “העדפה בתעסוקה בשירות המדינה, ברכישת קרקעות ובקבלה למעונות סטודנטים”

          “preference in government employment, in buying/leasing land and in receiving dormitory rooms”

          Reply to Comment
        • tod

          Why would you expect a different comment from Kolumn?
          Anyway, in Ottoman times the jizya was required from any man “whose religion precluded them from serving in the army, in return for the protection secured for them by the arms of the Muslims”. We are going backward.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Irrelevant nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            What religion precludes its members from serving in the Israeli army? For your information there are plenty of Muslims, Christians and Druze in the Israeli army.

            Also, I would like to say that I was wrong. The more I read about it the more it does appear that Noam is correct in that the proposed bill would allow private sector discrimination against those that didn’t serve. This is wrong. A bill granting government benefits to those that serve is legitimate and not particularly different from the compensation that veterans receive in other countries (the US for one). A bill that allows discrimination in the private sector on the basis of prior military/civilian service is extremely problematic even if it isn’t a priori discriminatory since there is little preventing those that currently do not serve from serving. The reason it is problematic is because it places unnecessary roadblocks to the integration of sectors that up until now haven’t served and prevents a gradual inclusion of their members in Israeli society and economy, which is naturally occurring at this time.

            Reply to Comment
        • rsgengland

          How can it be that people who contribute two to three years of their lives to the defense of their country, are then to be discriminated against by allowing those who have not served in the army or other service, to leapfrog them by going to university or working, while these others are doing their duty and serving.

          Reply to Comment
      • May

        We are not talking about benefits for those who serve, because they already get that and that’s alright(they get a grant of 15,000 shekels and an immediate job opportunity).
        We’re talking about making a weak minority even weaker, and there is no justification for that. it’s one thing to help a citizen who served the army or national service, but another thing to favor him over a citizen who didn’t serve.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          15,000 shekels is very little money in Israel. It is not even remotely close to what someone from a low socioeconomic environment would need to climb out of poverty. Given limited resources there is no difference between helping a citizen who served in the army and favoring him over those that didn’t. It is a distinction without a difference. We are talking about rewarding those that serve at the expense of those that have an additional 2-3 years during which to earn money and get an education. Nor does the argument that the highest socioeconomic or ethnic groups are the ones that serve hold water. There are plenty of poor and disadvantaged groups that serve – the Druze and the Ethipians come to mind.

          Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          15k NIS (3k euro) could be used to open a business – laughable sum, or could be used to pay for studies – less than one year in any semi-decent institution.

          As of immediate job opportunities – it is what is called “preferred jobs” and include fuelling cars on a fuel station, gardening and other low paying jobs.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Vadim

      1. As you well know the 15K can be spent in only certain ways. How does that compare to 3 years of work? Or going to the university 3 years earlier ? (All the Arabs that studied with me in the Technion were 18 years old)
      2. What immediate job opportunity are you talking about?!

      There is a substantive amount of Jews who refrain from the military service and many Beduin and Druze who do serve (I had the pleasure to work with both during my military service).

      It all comes down to this – these sectors are only part of Israel’s weak, but they alone refuse to contribute – even by doing civilian service in their own communities.

      Reply to Comment
      • Conscription is not voluntary contribution but servitude. Conscript citizens irrespective of race or religion, but provide an alternative in national service, also racially neutral. Optional national service, disjoint from conscription, is not the same, just as a voluntary army is not a conscripted one.

        Reply to Comment
    3. The US GI Bill was an absolute benefit which did not relativize cost to excluded individuals; those not serving were exactly as they were irrespective of the GI Bill. This Knesset bill would proactively depress opportunity for those not serving, based on the decisions of not the State but private individuals (such as landlords). Since most Jews do serve, it would provide card blanche for discrimination of those not recquired to serve–Arabs. This makes the enabling act of Jew only conscription in itself discriminatory.

      The solution is to have citizen conscription with an alternative choice of national service outside the IDF. One could tag on an extra year of such service as penalty for avoiding the IDF. But this would allow Jews the same opt out–which the powers will not abide.

      Reply to Comment
    4. The Trespasser

      >Conscription is not voluntary contribution but servitude.

      At the moment, the service is voluntary to Haredi Jews and Arabs.

      >Conscript citizens irrespective of race or religion, but provide an alternative in national service, also racially neutral.

      National service is available to either.

      >Optional national service, disjoint from conscription, is not the same, just as a voluntary army is not a conscripted one.

      IDF has both volunteers and conscript soldiers. You point being?

      Reply to Comment