Apartheid Laws in Israel - The Art of The Obfuscatory Formulation

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Mon Oct 16 15:36:50 MDT 2000

Note that Ha' arezt is a liberal Isreali magazine. It' s foreing policy
analysis is not critical of US&Isreal, although it is critical of the
Isreali political system (for not being liberal enough etc..). So read
accordingly. This is just an introduction to the discriminatory laws of

I found this in HAMAS' links.

A Hug,



Apartheid Laws in Israel - The Art of The Obfuscatory Formulation

Excerpts from an article by Uzi Ornan, published the Israeli daily
Ha'aretz 17 May 1991
( Hebrew )

It is impossible to turn one's back on reality and deny that the State
of Israel is not, likewise, an Apartheid state, and that as a result of
this, Israeli democracy - which all its leaders and political pundits
swear by - is being perverted, if not destroyed. This Apartheid has been
entrenched in a system of laws, regulations and practices which govern
the operation of state institutions.

What characterizes most of those discriminatory laws that have been
legislated in various Knesset is that on the surface, they do not appear
to be discriminatory. However, a more in-depth analysis of some of the
basic ones quickly reveals the extent to which they discriminate between
"Jews" and "non-Jews". By studying them one cannot fail to reach a
conclusion, which cannot but be embarrassing to many of us: namely, that
Israel is an Apartheid state, and the Apartheid not only manifests
itself socially, but that it is also embedded in the legal system. The
following is devoted to a few of these laws.

The 1952 Law of Entry into Israel was apparently legislated simply to
regulate entry into the country. However, all its clauses, save the one
making it obligatory to enter by way of an official border control
point, are intended to make a clear distinction between foreign citizens
who are Jewish and those who are not.

Yet the words "Jew" and "non-Jew" do not appear. So it is, for instance,
that the law stipulates that whoever "does not hold an immigration visa
or immigration certificate" can be immediately deported by the minister
of the Interior, or, can be denied a visa at any time. As for the
explanation and definition of who qualifies for an immigration visa, one
must seek the answer in another law, the

Law of Return. The answer is: Jews.

However, the authority vested in the minister of the Interior to deny
entry to foreign citizens if there is reason to suspect they may harm
the public is only applicable to non-Jews. The minister of the Interior
does not have the authority to deny any Jew - even if he's a scoundrel
of the first order who can be counted on to do harm - the right to
settle in Israel. The reason: Jews do not need permits to settle in
Israel....Jews arriving in Israel from abroad are almost immediately
given all the rights and privileges that Israeli Jews
enjoy....Furthermore, they immediately acquire the right to vote in
elections and to be elected to the Knesset - even if they do not speak a
word of Hebrew.

While the minister of the Interior has the authority - albeit, authority
which cannot be exercised without great difficulties - to deny
"immigration visas" to Jews, once a Jew enters the country, the minister
of Interior cannot do anything about it, and does not even have the
authority to withdraw residence permits from undesirables. In regard to
non-Jews, the situation is quite different: the minister of the Interior
can withdraw their permits even if they have been living here for years.
We have witnessed how swindlers and common criminals have succeeded in
receivin. Israeli citizenship, not to mention those who even managed to
get themselves elected to the Knesset. It wasn't the Law of Return that
allowed them to do so, it was the law governing entry to Israel, which
in turn is based on the Citizenship laws of 1952.

The Citizenship Laws of 1952 are a pinnacle in the annals of the art of
obfuscation. Even though the word "Jew" is not mentioned at all in these
laws, it is, in its entirety, based on the distinction between "Jews"
and "non-Jews". This is one of the pillars of the Israel Apartheid
regime, alongside a plethora of other laws, regulations and practices,
for "Jews" and "non-Jews". They include: the educational system; the
regulations of the Israel Lands Authority (which sees to maintaining
segregation on the ground); and the religious marriage laws, which do
not exist in conjunction with civil marriage laws.


Like in every state, a foreign citizen who wishes to become a citizen of
Israel can do so, and the regulations governing his acquisition of
citizenship are similar to those which exist in many other countries.
The basic condition is that candidates must have resided in Israel for a
number of years. Likewise, before citizenship is granted, the candidate
must pledge his allegiance to the State of Israel. In contrast, Jews are
not required to swear a pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel. So
it is that a Satmar Hassid, who has the utmost contempt for the
existence of the state, and perhaps even translates this into action,
can immediately become a citizen, with the right to vote in Knesset
elections.... Moreover, only ["Jews"]have the right to retain their
former citizenship even after becoming Israeli citizens, while
"non-Jews" are obliged to renounce it before becoming Israeli citizens.

The obfuscation does not end here. Take for instance the regulations
governing the "joint authority of the Israel government and the Jewish
Agency". These regulations are discussed as though they were applicable
to all Israeli citizens. But when one reads them through, it quickly
becomes apparent that rights granted to "returning residents" are meant
solely for Jews: those who are not Jews have to pay full duty on all the
articles they transport from the place of residence abroad, and are not
granted any housing or education benefits upon returning to the country,
after, perhaps, a few years of study abroad....

Blatant discrimination against non-Jews can also be found in other laws
dealing with the acquisition of property, government support for young
couples, educational curricula, and government expenditure for schools,
to cite just a few examples. The routine means for enforcing
discrimination is the ID card, which everyone is obliged to carry at all
times. ID cards list "nationality", which can be Jewish, Arab, Druze,
Circassian, Samaritan, Kara'ite, or foreign. When a person presents his
ID card to a policeman, a security official, or to a clerk at a
government office whose services he requires, they can know which
"sector" he belongs to and treat him accordingly, or, refer him to those
who are responsible for dealing with his "sector". Up to now all the
attempts to force the minister of the Interior to also accept the entry
of "Israeli" nationality have failed. Those who have attempted to do so
have received a letter from the ministry of the Interior. While the
letterhead is one of the "State of Israel", the letter states that "it
was decided not to recognize an Israeli nationality". By the way, every
person has the right to demand that the nationality entry in their ID
remain blank, and the ministry of the Interior must honor this demand.

Another law, the 1986 Military Service Law, which superficially does not
appear to be discriminatory in any way, is, by dint of the wily formula
used in conjunction with the "nationality" entry in the census, a
destructive tool of discrimination and oppression. The term "draftee"
which appears therein applies to every Israeli citizen or permanent
resident, as does the term "candidate for military conscription". In
other words, a "draftee" - i.e. , someone who has not yet reported to
the draft board - is a universal term and equally applicable to all
citizens. How is it then, that this law has become a major tool for
implementing discriminatory policies ?

The answer is: by the way of a simple and at first glance innocent ploy.
It appears in section three, which deals with how citizens are to be
called to report for military service: a special person is appointed to
be "the enumerator"; his job is to call draftees to register with the
draft board and he "is authorized to order draftees and candidates for
conscription to report [to the draft board]". The law uses the term
"authorized", and in so doing leaves open the possibility for the
enumerator to abstain from calling on "draftees" to report. And it is
clear that those who the enumerator does not call do not have to report,
and are therefore exempt from army service. In practice it is much
simpler: those whose IDs list them as belonging to the "Arab sector" are
not called by the enumerator.

Why are Arab teenagers not called to serve in the army ? The two reasons
usually given are nothing more than a pretext. The "moral" reasons runs
as follows: How can an Arab be asked to fight against his brother ? This
ignores something we have witnessed more than once, namely, that Arabs
kill other Arabs--whether in terrorist attacks or on the
battlefield...The same could apply to Israeli citizens, be they Arab of
other non-Jews, if they were to feel that their induction into the
Israeli Army was justified. But this will only come about when they feel
themselves equal citizens, and that the state of Israel is protecting
them, and respecting their rights, treating them no differently than
other citizens....It would be pointless to waste much time on the second
reason - "for reasons or security". Both Jews and non-Jews have been
exposed as spies and traitors. Indeed, there is ample reason to believe
that the ones who were the most dangerous were Jews.

In the same way that being a "Jew" does not vouchsafe automatic loyalty
to Israel, the label "Arab" is, likewise, not a means of identifying
those ready to commit treason or engage in espionage.

Once a citizen has not been called on to report by the enumerator,
discrimination and persecution follow. Such is the lot of those [of
non-Jews] who do not serve in the army. Many places of employment and
residence become off limits, as the demands of employment and
regulations governing the leasing of homes or lands in the hands of
various public and governmental bodies stipulate that candidates must be
"draftees". So it is, for instance, that Mohammed Borkan did not succeed
in remaining in his flat in the Old City of Jerusalem. One of the basic
conditions for being allowed to lease the flats (which were expropriated
for the "public good") is that the leasee must be a "draftee". Take
note: the term "draftee" also applies to yeshiva students [students of
Jewish theology] who have not served in the army. The enumerator does
call on them to report, and that is enough for them to be included in
the category of those who have privileges, even if their contact with
the army ends at this point.

One can list many more Apartheid laws, but we will stop at this
point....The Apartheid mindset has always been part and parcel of
Judaism. Take for example the age of Ezra and Nehemia (ca. 450-430 BC).
All the restrictions and rules incorporated into the Jewish religion
were intended to preserve the purity of the strain against contamination
from the Gentiles....Apartheid is so powerful a mindset in this society,
that its existence and preservation is championed by all the members of
the "Zionist parties", including those who believe themselves to be in
the vanguard of the struggle for socialism, peace and equal rights. We
have yet to hear them speak out against the existence of two categories
of citizens, or in favor of a comprehensive Israeli school system, or in
favor of the abolition of restrictions on where Jews and Arabs are
allowed to live. One gets the impression that their energetic struggle
for the establishment of a Palestinian state and their vocal opposition
to Jewish "settlements" on the other side of the green line is based on
their desire to preserve a "Jewish state", something which allows and,
in the eyes of many of them, even justifies the retention of
discriminatory laws, and the privileges granted to the Jews.

Everyone who supports democracy and is concerned about the future of
Israel, should place the abolition of the Apartheid regime that exists
here at the top of his list of priorities. And not only leftists, but
also those with liberal views on the right. Those who say we must be
ready to "give up a lot for the sake of peace" should to so in good
faith: abolish Israel's Apartheid laws and grant non-Jewish resident
(sic) the ability to identify fully with the state.


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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