Photo Credit:

We cannot ignore it any longer. Israel may vehemently deny accusations of practicing a form of apartheid, yet an entire population within the country suffers at the hands of an awful policy of discrimination.

One need not subscribe to any specific political ideology in order to admit the failure of the Israeli government to rid the country of this abhorrent partiality whereby basic rights of a particular population of citizens are trampled on daily. The time has come to note these injustices in order that we may begin building toward a brighter future.


So let us speak of the real discrimination the Jewish population of Israel suffers daily. And just as South Africa’s apartheid policy involved the majority suffering at the hands of the minority, so too Israel’s majority of Jewish citizens continue to suffer at the hands of a minority Arab population. The discrimination is manifest in numerous ways. Here are but some examples:

• While the Jewish sector is required to fulfill its civil obligations, the Arab sector simply does not. The government is all but silent as the Arabs of Israel consistently avoid paying income and city taxes. Knesset Member Faina Kirschenbaum described the reality as such: “The Arabs are an economic burden on the state. They barely pay taxes and yet receive huge budgets from the state.” Additionally, as a result, many positions and full industries have come to be dominated by Arabs, with Jews unable to compete. What could be more discriminatory than imposing a tax on Jewish citizens while sanctioning wide scale tax evasion on the part of Arab citizens?

• While Israeli law requires Jewish towns and their businesses and institutions to employ and admit Arabs, Arab towns are virtually Jew-free. Additionally, while these same towns are never the focus of international accusations of illegal building, Arab residents (who, unlike Jews, are offered free professional government assistance to aid with housing permits) rarely seek permits before proceeding to build.

• While Jewish citizens of Israel are required to serve the state in the form of military or national service (unless contributing in some other form), the Arab citizen is free from any service or contribution to the country that provides him enormous benefits. As the Jewish citizen gives years of his life for his country, the Arab citizen uses this time to pursue his personal education, obtain a job, and advance his own career early on. When national and military service veterans are offered benefits that are hard earned, the Arab fights these with legal claims that they discriminate against the Arab community (which does not serve), often winning.

• Jerusalem is the most precious city to the Jewish people, with the Temple Mount at its center regarded as the holiest site on earth. While Arabs are free to visit and pray as they please, Jewish citizens of the Jewish state are not as privileged. Visits for Jews must take place at restricted hours with constant and humiliating supervision by Muslim religious council officials and accompanying Israeli security. Any prayer on the part of a Jew in this part of the Jewish capital will land him in police custody.

• While Jewish citizens are prohibited from even whispering their prayers on the Temple Mount, the Arab is free to sound his prayers throughout the day and at untimely hours (including pre-dawn) on loudspeakers that can be heard for miles. Additionally, the Arab community regularly blasts loud music, sets off firecrackers and performs festive shootings at late-night celebrations. While anti-noise legislation pursues Jewish car alarms, leaf-blowers, and even ill-timed piano lessons – so as not to disturb the peace – the Arab communities are immune to prosecution due to fears of escalating tensions.

• While Israel’s Supreme Court continues to allow Arab political parties – which openly support terrorism against Jews and reject Israel’s right to exist – to run for and sit in parliament, Jewish parties with far milder stances remain disqualified.

• While a Jew accused of murder will likely sit in prison for several decades to life, Arab murderers of Jews are likely to be released every so often as part of goodwill gestures or political agreements.

• Lastly, the most basic right of any citizen is that to live freely and securely. ‎While Jewish citizens are stabbed, run over, and gunned down in any and all areas of the Jewish state, Arab citizens are essentially free of fears of Jews doing the same to them. While an Arab child may go skipping through any Jewish section of the Jewish state at any hour without a care in the world, Jewish adults are fearful in broad daylight to stroll in vast areas of the Jewish state, with Arab areas being genuine danger zones for Jews at any hour. In fact, Jewish firefighters have been attacked countless times by Arab residents in Arab towns as they were in the midst of saving Arab families from flames. And while Jewish citizens are privileged to live with security guards at bus stops, malls, restaurants, and public venues throughout the country, the Arab citizen does not know of any of these precautions in his towns, for he does not need them.

These are just some of the discriminatory policies of the state of Israel. Many more injustices are overlooked on an unofficial level, lest the Arab community become “aggravated.”

So tell your friends who have been raving about Israeli apartheid that they are right. Israel is guilty of inexcusable discrimination. But let us understand just who the victims are.


Previous articleAbbas Refuses to Apologize, Blames Israel for Death of American in Jaffa
Next articleYiddish Theater Triumphs Again at Museum of City of NY
Mark Cohen made aliyah nearly 15 years ago from the United States and currently lives and teaches in the heart of Jerusalem.