A project by an Israeli alternative media group has revealed the true face of alleged “apartheid” in Israel.
It is commonplace to accuse Israel of segregationist policies against the Arabs living in the Jewish state, and various anti-Israel organizations invoke South Africa’s apartheid regime to compare Israel’s treatment of its Arab residents.
The Mida information and news site asked its readers to document incidents of discrimination, segregation, humiliation and exclusion of Arabs from Israeli public life.
The findings were staggering and proved that the claims heard internationally against Israel are no more than a farce.
“Many universities world-wide are marking the Israel Apartheid week,” explained Akiva Bigman, an editor of Mida. “We decided on a creative initiative. Instead of attacking these anti-Israel stances with rhetoric laden with facts and information, we announced a photography competition, which depicts the true state of Arabs living in Israel.”
According to Bigman, the photos demonstrate that Israel’s Arabs are integrated in all facets of life in Israel, on university campuses, through hospitals, shopping malls and welfare institution.
“The competition was a satirical; the photo descriptions are written in a cynical way, such as ‘Exclusion from campus’ when in fact the photo depicts a large group of Arab students on campus, or ‘Oppression though advanced academic degrees,” Bigman said.
Anyone living in Israel knows that Arabs are employed by and receive service at all government offices, study at all universities, including 800 Arab students at Ariel University in Samaria, are found in the legal system as judges, serve as IDF officers and soldiers as Members of the Knesset.
The latest claims of segregation were leveled against Israel in relation to buses coming out of Arab areas in Judea and Samaria which were designated for Arabs only. These buses enable Arab laborers coming into Israel to ride the bus at low costs, not having to rely on hitch-hiking or private and expensive services.
Local Arabs who used the buses have praised the new service. Chaim Levinson, a Haaretz reporter, writes that thanks to this reform, thousands of workers who were previously exploited by private services have finally received professional and orderly services provided by the State of Israel.
Levinson interviewed Halil, a construction worker from Hevron, who was once forced to sleep away from home to get on time to his job. The new bus service enables him to sleep at home and saves him a large sum of money every month.
Anet Haskia, a Muslim Arab woman, recently told Tazpit’s Anav Silvermen in an interview, “I am proud to live in Israel. I am even prouder that both my sons have served as soldiers for this country.
“There are many people who are too scared to speak up, who love Israel like I do and have done well here. They want a future where their children will not fall to hatred and incitement, but overcome that,” she concluded.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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