BILL LEGALIZES DISCRIMINATION
Bill to legalize discrimination based on military service approved by Ministerial Committee on Legislation .
Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic). June 6, 2013
Bill affords preferences in work, rent, land purchase, governmental services, and university admission
On 16 June 2013, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the proposed “Contributors to the State” bill which institutes preferential treatment to citizens who contribute to the state (i.e. serving in the military or the civil service), including preference in hiring, in job salaries and in receiving services such as student housing, higher education and allocation of land for housing. The bill states that such preferential treatment shall not be considered discrimination as prohibited by Israeli law. The bill also includes consequential amendments to other laws designed to fulfill the purpose of this bill, including preference in hiring for civil service jobs that are currently provided to different populations such as minorities.
Adalah: Law endorses discrimination in work, education, land, and government services
Before the vote, Adalah sent an urgent letter to the members of the Ministerial Committee urging them to reject the bill, as it is an unconstitutional violation of the basic rights of Palestinian citizens of the state.
Bill describes Palestinian citizens as a hostile group
Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher wrote that, “This bill is directed at all Palestinian citizens who are exempted, for political and historical reasons, from military service. If we examine the bill, we see that it describes Palestinian citizens as an “outsider” group, even as a hostile group, who should not receive equal rights, nor do they deserve them. This bill violates the constitutional rights of Palestinian citizens, including their rights to dignity and equality.”
Today discrimination against all of Palestinian citizens of Israel remains strong. Rather than using legislation to counter this discrimination, the Knesset is continuing to seriously consider laws that legitimize and justify identity-based discrimination in the country.