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national service

  • Jewish women can't volunteer at night - to avoid 'contact with Arabs'

    The Israeli government succumbs to pressure by racist and anti-miscegenation organizations, banning Jewish women from volunteering in hospitals at night, when they might be more likely to encounter Arab workers and doctors. Young Israeli women volunteering at hospitals in Israel as part of their national service (an alternative to serving in the Israel Defense Forces) will no longer be allowed to do night shifts in order to avoid any contact with Arabs, Channel 10 reported Wednesday (Hebrew). The director of Israel's National Service Administration, Sar-Shalom Jerbi, issued a directive two weeks ago banning any volunteer shifts past 9:00 p.m.: "We…

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  • Israeli Arabs should do national service - for everyone's sake

    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…

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  • NYTimes' due fear for Israeli democracy adds some misconceptions

    The New York Times published a laudable, bold editorial this weekend that highlights a number of creeping threats to Israeli democracy. The article is vital for reaching audiences who really care about Israel's future. After three years of onslaught on Israel's democratic foundations (which were already deeply flawed), the situation is now urgent. Every day, truly scary signs of under-the-radar McCarthyism can be seen – just this morning Haaretz reported on the attempt to oust an official (Hebrew) in the Education Ministry responsible for civics education, who has come under a right-wing witch-hunt, despite protests by both left- and right-leaning colleagues. The legitimization…

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  • Debate on draft reform moves Israel further away from democracy

    If Netanyahu's government doesn't come up with a solution, the army could soon start enlisting all of Israel's ultra-Orthodox citizens. But while it is convenient to see the debate on a universal draft as a step toward equality, Israeli militarism should be challenged by decreasing the army's size, not enlarging it.   The deadline is closing in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to cross one of the most dangerous minefields in Israeli politics – that of national draft reform. In February, the High Court struck down the current arrangement – known as the Tal Law – exempting most of…

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  • Palestinian citizens cannot be expected to serve Jewish state

    By Fady Khoury In an earlier post, I argued that the expectation for Palestinian citizens of Israel to serve in the army or in any alternative service lacks moral justification. I will elaborate on this argument here. It goes as follows: If (1) national service is an alternative to military service; And (2) there is no moral basis upon which Palestinians can be expected to serve in the army; Then (3) there is no moral basis upon which Palestinians can be expected to serve in national service. Going forward, I will attempt to prove the first two statements of my…

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  • New bill would condition Knesset electability on completion of military service

    Palestinian citizens cannot be expected to serve an institution that protects the Jewish identity of the state. If Israel prohibits its Palestinian citizens from participating in elections, it would cease to function as a democracy, and it would lose its case against claims of apartheid. By Fady Khoury The media reported this week that MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) has introduced a new bill prohibiting citizens who have not completed military, national or civil service from being elected to the Knesset. This bill joins an array of several other bills proposed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, which condition…

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  • Israel's social protests: the key to changing everything?

    For the first few weeks of the housing-cum-social protests in Israel, nothing else seemed to matter. For at least a week or two after the “J14” protests began (on July 14, in Tel Aviv), the press happily let it muscle out everything else – Palestinians, Iran, September, democracy barely reached back pages of the papers. The boycott bill (remember the boycott bill?) was quickly overshadowed. A new bill to cement Israel’s Jewish identity in a Basic Law – perhaps the most vicious attack yet against the 20% Arab minority – hardly made the same waves. Everything seemed drowned out by…

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  • A quiet week: cottage cheese and social (in)justices

    In the absence of any major diplomatic fiascos or triumphs, wars or terror attacks, here is a roundup of a regular old week in Israel: Right-leaning Kadima MK Israel Hasson  has proposed that Israelis should not be allowed to perform their national service (an alternate form of IDF service for those with a special exemption) at human rights organizations. The idea is that national service should not include organizations like the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, and others because Hasson is miffed about their involvement in the Goldstone investigation. But as Haaretz explains: Hasson is…

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