Racism in Israel on the rise
Association for Civil Rights in Israel publishes annual report; reveals country overwhelmed by racism, restriction of personal freedoms, discrimination, especially towards Israeli-Arabs. Report not surprising, say Arab MKs
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) report on civil rights in Israel paints a bleak picture: Increasing racism, restriction of personal freedoms and discrimination even within the Knesset walls – and that's just scratching the surface.
Published Saturday, the report reveled that Israeli youths are bombarded with stereotypic, racist imagery, and their opinions have developed accordingly: Over two-thirds Israeli teen believe Arabs to be less intelligent, uncultured and violent. Over a third of Israeli teens fear Arabs all together.
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The report becomes even grimmer, citing the ACRI's racism poll, taken in March of 2007, in which 50% of Israelis taking part said they would not live in the same building as Arabs, will not befriend, or let their children befriend Arabs and would not let Arabs into their homes.
Fifty percent of those polled also said they believed Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to emigrate.
Racism in Israel is on the rise, said the report: in 2006 there was a 26% increase in racist incidents towards Arabs and the general sense of hatred towards them has doubled.
Reinforcing a negative image
The media, said the ACRI, played a major part in fanning the flame, intensifying the Arab image as negative and terrorizing.
The Knesset was not absent from the report as well, as it allows bills which delegitimize Israel's Arabs citizens before the plenum, preconditions social rights in IDF or national service and make its Arab MKs swear allegiance to a Jewish State.
The report devotes a special section to the recently approves JNF bill, which allows Jewish National Fund land – which make up 13% of all State owned land – to be allocated to Jews only.
According to the report, Israeli Arabs are subject to constant racial proofing, which defines them as a security threat; resulting in demeaning and degrading treatment at airports and public venues.
Furthermore, in the Second Lebanon War, some 40% of the citizens killed were Israeli-Arabs, mostly due to a severe lack of shelters, but still – the rehabilitation and fortification of Arab towns remains, according to the report, ridiculously low.
"This report doesn’t come as a surprise," Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh told Ynet Saturday.
"No one should be surprised by them. These findings are a natural outcome of the racial slurs by political leaders and the racial policy that have been implemented by the Israeli governments towards the Arab population for the past 60 years.
"Such racism," added Barakeh, "can only be cured by changing the Israeli government's racial mentality."
"Racism has become the norm in Israeli society," said MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al). "Israel is ridden with discrimination through and thought.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report