During the past two thousand years, people of the Jewish faith have continually encountered bigotry and prejudice because of their religious background. Under Muslim rule, Jews were always second class citizens who paid special taxes or wore special clothes or were denied certain entry into certain occupations. Under Christian rule, they were tortured, forced to convert and thousands were killed. One would logically assume that people who have suffered would avoid mistreating minorities, but such is not the case in Israel. Several Jewish children of Ethiopian heritage have been denied entry into schools as well as encountering daily prejudice.
Gideon Levy, writing in Haaretz, poses questions: “how many self righteous and tsking parents would have agreed to register their children in a class with a majority of children of Ethiopian origin? And how many would rent an apartment to an Arab student?” He points out that many “clubs” exclude Ethiopians, Arabs, Druze and foreigners whose skin is dark. Israel invests NIS 577 for the education of Arab children in east Jerusalem and NIS 2,372 in Jewish children in West Jerusalem.
How does a modern society like Israel explain why 70,000 Arab Israelis live in unrecognized villages, many of which lack electricity or running water? If anyone uses expressions such as “apartheid” or “racism” in reference to Israel, the usual response is to raise the battle cry of “anti-semitism.” Yes, there are anti-semites in the world. But, there are also Israel semites who are bigoted and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab. Any Jew who is bigoted against Muslims or Christians or non-Jews denies the heritage of the Jewish fight for social justice “FOR ALL HUMANITY.”