Oct 28: A Vote for Segregated Communities

The Headlines: Jim Crow

> The Knesset’s constitution committee voted today to proceed with a final vote on a bill, which would allow small localities to establish “acceptance committees” to screen people who wish to live in that locality. Despite the law’s insistence that discrimination would not be allowed, the vague and broad criteria it permits (lack of suitability to the social and cultural fabric, or social life in the community) make its intention clear. Acceptance committees in Israel are a tool for discrimination, mainly against Arabs who wish to reside in Jewish localities. The few Arabs who have tried to apply have almost invariably been rejected. Therefore, the effect of this law would be to bar them from 81% of lands in Israel.

> A prominent Arab Israeli activist pled guilty to charges of espionage, contact with a foreign agent, and conspiracy to aid the enemy. His attorney insisted yesterday that all he did was pass along publicly available information, and indeed, he did not have access to any classified data. Nonetheless, he is likely to face 10 years in jail. As I mentioned yesterday, this type of charges is often used to persecute prominent Israeli Arabs who make trouble for the authorities. Rather than face a hostile and biased court, which could give them a life sentence, many choose to plea.

> A handful of extreme right-wingers marched through the Arab city of Um-El-Fahem, in Israel, protected by a massive police presence. Arab participants in a counter-protest were injured when a riot broke out after the presence of an undercover cop in the crowd was discovered. I’m just trying to imagine a similar march by Arab extremists in the settlement of Ariel…

> 400 Bedouin pupils, who live in an “unrecognized village” (i.e. a village declared illegal by Israeli authorities who wish to concentrate the Bedouin in several large townships), cannot attend school because the alternative offered to them is too distant.

> Netanyahu wants to pay African countries to receive asylum seekers who arrive in Israel, fleeing persecution and massacres in other African countries. He also ordered to begin, as soon as possible, the construction of a fence between Israel and Egypt, meant to block the entry of asylum seekers.

> Israel’s civilian population is massively exposed [Heb] to rocket and missile attacks on the home front.

The Sidelines: The Israeli Tea Party

> Netanyahu is trying to see if he has a majority in the government for a decision on another settlement “freeze” for three months (Yedioth), while settlers and their right-wing allies in the Knesset, including members of Likud (Netanyahu’s party), are planning a “tea party” against Obama’s demand for a settlement freeze.

>Participants in an OECD conference on tourism in Jerusalem travelled in buses owned by a settlement corporation.

> The Israeli government is threatening retaliation against the Vatican for denouncing the occupation of the Palestinian territories (Ma’ariv).

> Over a third of the Knesset members voiced enthusiastic support [Heb] for the Jewish settlement in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron. The 500 settlers there control a third of the city, with the rest left for the 165,000 Palestinian residents.

> A profile of four people, who represent groups that struggle in the Israeli job market, has interesting results: the disabled and the ultra-orthodox report no discrimination, the Ethiopian Jew reports prejudice but is eventually evaluated on the merits, and the Arab Israeli reports blatant and consistent discrimination (Yedioth, Mamon).

> Thousands of university students protested against the government’s intention to continue awarding social benefits to Yeshiva students, without doing the same for those who attend universities. Their representative are trying to negotiate an agreement, which would change the standards for the benefit, allowing people without children, who work part time, to receive them as well (Ma’ariv Asakim).

> The chairman of the Sephardic ultra-orthodox party Shas suggests forming a council of rabbis that would tackle the issue of discrimination against Sephardic students in Ashkenazi ultra-orthodox schools.

> Ma’ariv profiles various broken promises that were made to the Israeli public. Among them are bills on free childcare and public housing, which passed 26 and 12 years ago respectively, but were not implemented.

The Bottom Lines: Accountability

> Anonymous pamphlets incite [Heb] against the Judge Advocate General, for deciding to prosecute soldiers who used a Palestinian child as a human shield during the Gaza war.

> An IDF colonel who justified violence against Palestinian detainees will return to the command of a reserve brigade (Yedioth).

Haaretz, October 28
Haaretz, October 28