Are Arabs Treated Like Second-Class Citizens in Israel?

  • 1 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • September 19, 2022

Israeli Arabs have exactly the same right as their Jewish counterparts. To be fair, there is racism, and both ethnicities tend to live in separate villages. Unfortunately, it is a reality of 70 years of conflict. Saying that, many Israelis are trying very hard to integrate the Arab population, and many Arabs are reaching high positions in the country.

So here is the truth and nothing but the truth. The Arabs have perfectly equal legal rights in Israel; they have reached leadership in many fields, from a judge in the supreme court, to soccer superstars, to members of the Knesset to the chairman of the board of directors of Bank Leumi.

With 20 percent of the country’s population, almost half (46 percent) of new doctors are Arabs. Half of the new nurses (50), more than half the dentists (53 percent), and pharmacists (57 percent) are also Arabs.

So while I usually enjoy debunking any stupid arguments like apartheid and proving that Arabs have equal legal rights. It is fair to say that it is not the funniest thing to be an Arab in Israel. In Israel, when it comes to business, people enjoy each other company, but then they all go back to their towns and don’t do too much intermingling.

The only place that Arabs get to really integrate and connect with Jews is when they join the Army. Unfortunately, so many Arabs are not interested in defending Israel against other Arabs.

While Israel always takes pride in new Arab leadership, it’s not different than In the US, when an African American, woman, or Latino gets a leadership position, and everyone gets all proud. It could even be condescending at times. As much as the entire world was blown away by the fact that the US has elected a black president, it’s not like racism has stopped, and it has not stopped in Israel.

Now that I put that on the table, the struggle with the Arab community in Israel is very different from racism in Europe and North America. Israel has been in a 2-Century war with the Arabs, and many of its population are still focused on promoting terrorism and genocide. If this were just an external thing from the West Bank and Gaza, then it would have been easier, but it’s not.

Some Arabs with Israeli Citizenship do collaborate with Palestinian terrorists and even commit terror themselves. It is tough for many Israelis to know who will be the next person who tries to kill them or their family. Unfortunately,everyone in Israel knows a friend or uncle that was killed by an Arab so it is hard to act like nothing has happened and pursue relationships with the other side.

So, I must take pride that many Israelis do choose to reach beyond and climb above the hate. The world often nitpicks every Israeli that did not win this battle of hate while they never celebrate how hard it is to reach out and work and elevate Arabs in the community. How much political will takes to make sure that Arabs do get equal rights. It is one of the many reasons why I feel that Israel is the most progressive country in the world because, against all odds, most Israelis still manage to take the upper hand and give Arabs the opportunity to succeed.

As a last note, it’s also important to mention that Arabs in Israel are treated far better than in any other Middle Eastern country, considering that in most of these upside-down dictatorship countries, there are no equal rights to anyone but the Elite.

There are many Arab villages that are upset with the government on how they are treated, but during land negotiations with the Palestinians, they always protest not to be part of the Palestinian Authority. It is quite a strange phenomenon, and many Arabs in private admit that they wouldn’t want to live in any other Middle Eastern country.

Yet, I really hope that Israel’s leadership keeps on promoting better integration and quality of life for the Arab population, even with this difficult reality.

“I am an Arab Israeli with equal rights under the law of the State of Israel”

 

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