Monday, December 10, 2007

74% of Israeli youth says "Arabs are unclean"...

"Racism reaching new heights in Israel, civil rights group says"

By Yuval Yoaz
December 8, 2007

On the Web at:

"Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy," author Sami Michael, president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said on the release of the organization's annual report. The publication coincides with Human Rights Week, which begins today.

The report's key points include a 26-percent rise in the number of racist incidents against Arabs and twice as many Jews reporting a feeling of hate toward Arabs.

"We are a society under supervision under a democratic regime whose institutions are being undermined and which confers a different status to residents in the center of the country and in the periphery," Michael said.

According to the June 2007 Democracy Index of the Israel Democracy Institute, for example, only half the public believes that Jews and Arabs must have full equal rights.

Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are "unclean."

The ACRI says that bills introduced in the Knesset contribute to delegitimize the country's Arab citizens, such as ones that would link the right to vote and receive state allowances to military or national service.

They also include bills that require ministers and MKs to swear allegiance to a Jewish state and those that set aside 13 percent of all state lands owned by the Jewish National Fund for Jews only.

"Arab citizens are frequently subject to ridicule at the airports," the report states.

It says that Arab citizens "are subject to 'racial profiling' that classifies them as a security threat. The government also threatens the freedom of expression of Arab journalists by brandishing the whip of economic boycott and ending the publication of government announcements in newspapers that criticize its policy."