Tag Archives: Arab citizens

Israel Legislators Seek To Stifle Free Speech

The nation of Israel remains a bastion in the Middle East for its democratic form of government and rights allowed to all members of society, including Arabs, to express differing views. But, a move on the part of several members of the Knesset to criminalize Arab beliefs regarding the founding of the state of Israel would undermine democracy. Many Israel Arabs regard the date of the founding of Israel as a day of mourning and term it, “nakba.” Under the proposed legislation would make criminal celebrating “Nakba Day” with sentences of up to three years for those who seek to express their disapproval of the nation of Israel.

We Americans lived through “McCarthyism” in the fifties when those who spoke liberal ideas were deemed to be “communists,” forced to sign loyalty oaths and many lost their jobs or were sent to jail. The nation of Israel is a strong democratic society and it can withstand some of its citizens celebrating a day of mourning.

Israel educators might invite Arab speakers into their schools to discuss why they are celebrating “Nakba Day” and ask permission to discuss with Muslim students why Israel should exist.

Israel Defense Force Increases Arab Recruits

There is little doubt prejudice exists within Israel by its Jewish majority toward members of the Arab minority. Israel law exempts non-Druze Arabs from being drafted into the Israel Defense Force(IDF) although a surprising number of Arabs do join the force. Many enter the IDF for economic reasons and are frequently allowed to serve in various roles. Most of the Bedouin recruits function as trackers with desert reconnaissance forces, and play a key role in the Gaza blockade. The typical Arab recruit believes military service provides a way out of poverty and ensures having a good relationship with local authorities. A problem facing many who have served and then enter civilian life is they are not welcome among Arab groups and they still encounter Israeli Jewish prejudice.

Among the tasks of the Israel government and people is to engage with the issue of prejudice against Arabs in their nation. The idea of a binational state will not emerge for many years, if it ever does, but in the meantime, Israel must eliminate all forms of discrimination against Arabs. A good beginning place is ensuring that those who serve in the IDF secure good jobs upon discharge.