Following a stormy debate, the Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved in a preliminary vote an amendment to the Civil Service Law submitted by MK Mordechai Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and complementary proposals by MKs Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Anat Berko (Likud).
The bill passed by a vote of 67 in favor and 17 against.
The bill proposes giving priority in hiring for civil service positions through a mechanism of affirmative action for candidates coming from the eligible minority groups who have completed military or national service.
The bill’s explanatory notes read: “In the State of Israel live members of minority groups who chose to tie their fate to the fate of the state, who serve in the IDF and in the national service, often enduring great social and family sacrifices.
“Some are discriminated against in their area of residence, some suffer from violence and incitement, if only for the reason that they chose to serve the State of Israel and to integrate into it. When many of them are released from the service, they often discover that it is the minority members who opposed the service, incited for or supported the non-integration, are the ones who enjoy the advantage in getting civil service positions, because the ones who served join the labor market later.”
MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) Arab List) objected to the bill, saying, “If this law is accepted, it will invalidate the need to appropriate the fair representation of the Arab population. The idea of appropriate representation was created in order to give representation to weaker, underrepresented groups. Does anyone claim that army veterans are not represented?”
MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) suggested that “if this proposal is passed, every job for the Arab sector will go to the Druze. It’s a disgrace.”