a different side of Israel

Tag: Arabs in Israel

The Race Is On

Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed, has been summoned by police concerning a letter he published advising the public not to rent or sell homes to Arabs. On Friday, Eliyahu told Yediot Achronot he refuses to answer the summons.

Police are reportedly seeking to interrogate the chief rabbi on suspicion of incitement to racism. He was summoned to Jerusalem on Sunday.

Eliyahu said:

“I asked them if David Grossman, Yossi Sarid, and Shulamit Aloni, who protested against the settlement of Jews in Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, had also been interrogated, but they said no…If I am being accused of racism while they are not – this is discrimination…We have no intention of playing into the hands of the justice system, which behaves in an inequitable manner.”

Eliyahu finds Knesset members, Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel (National Union), who condemned the “summoning to interrogation of the great leaders of Israel” and the “persecution of the Torah and its rabbis” on his side.

In a statement, they said:

“Freedom of speech has been stolen from wizened students by the police and the prosecution, because they believe it is deserved only by radical and post-Zionist academicians, who call on Arabs to refrain from renting to Jews in their neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, told the press in Ramallah, on Christmas Day:

“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it…We are ready to have peace on the basis of international legitimacy and the road map, which we have accepted, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative…But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”

Old Land, New Land

“The state that will rise will be Jewish in its function, purpose, and aim. Not a country of Jews settled in a land but a state for Jews, the Jewish people…” David Ben Gurion

Last Sunday, the first day of the Israeli workweek, Israel’s Cabinet approved a bill requiring new citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic” state.

It was in specific reference to the Law of Return, as almost all new immigrants to Israel are indeed Jewish.

The bill, which now faces a wider parliamentary vote, passed by a 22-8 margin.

“The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens — Jews and non-Jews — enjoy full equal rights…Whoever wants to join us, has to recognize us.”

Said Bibi.

“There is no other democracy in the Middle East. There is no other Jewish state in the world. Unfortunately, there are many today who tried to blur not only the unique connection of the Jewish people to its homeland, but also the connection of the Jewish people to its state.”

A correspondent of Al Jazeera contended in conversation, “some have argued that the bill will cast Israel in a bad light in the international community.”


Bad light?

International Community?
What a shock!

Shmuel Sandler, a professor at Bar Ilan University defended the bill:

“You can stay whichever religion you want, whichever nationality. But if you want to become a citizen, you have to take the oath.”

Another Al Jazeera correspondent, Nour Odeh, from Ramallah said:

“Defining a state by the specific religious or ethnic background of the majority of its citizens is unprecedented”.

However an Arab State of Palestine would not allow Jewish settlers.

Unlike their Palestinian brethren in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Arabs (who make up roughly one-fifth of the Jewish Country’s 7,000,000 citizens), have the right to vote, travel freely and even claim munificent social benefits.

Same as anyone.

And apropos to these enraged or threatened Arab citizens of Israel, Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of the nonprofit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) and a foreign policy analyst told Haaretz in August, alluding to the Arab lobby in the United States:

“As for the domestic Arab lobby, even they are less pro-Palestinian than they are anti-Israel. Almost everything is anti-Israel. For example, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s resolutions mostly target Israel and ignore discrimination against Arabs by anyone other than Israel or the United States. They don’t support independence for Lebanon.”

He continued,

“They rarely criticize terrorism. And so they have very little credibility with Congress. It shouldn’t be surprising if they are also unsuccessful.”

To shed some light on the issue.

“The powerful part of the Arab lobby isn’t so concerned about the Palestinian issue, they’re concerned about the welfare of the Saudis. And fights between the Israel lobby and the Saudi lobby are rare − there hasn’t been one since the 1981 arms sales fight.”

Full House Even Without A Baby Boom

Israelis have for decades been worried about the exponentially growing rate of Palestinians and Arab Israelis. They fear that, as equal citizens, if the ratio of Arabs to Jews in Israel grows disproportionate enough, Arabs could soon control the Knesset and young Israel might cease to be a Jewish nation.

Israeli arab womenWell the birthrate of Muslims in Israel is actually on the decline, though out of any other ethnicity in the country, it is still by far the largest. According to new data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics: the growth rate of Israel’s Muslim population stayed at 2.8% in 2008, compared to 3.8% in 2000. The Druze population was 1.8% last year. The Christian population grew at 1.3% and the Jewish population growth rate stood at 1.6%.

Jaffa MosqueLast year the Muslim population totaled 1.24 million people – that’s 34,000 more residents than the end of 2007. The majority of Muslim Arabs live in the north with 21.4% in Jerusalem. 11.3% are in the Mercaz region, 13.8% are in the south and only 1.2% of the Muslim population is in the greater Tel Aviv district.

The 256,000 Muslims in Jerusalem make up one-third of the city’s population and the majority of residents in Nazareth are the 46,000 Muslims there.

While the fertility rate among Muslim women in Israel has dropped steadily in the last few years from 4.7 babies in the year 2008 to 3.8 in 2008 – however this Muslim birthrate is still higher than women’s fertility rate is still higher than that of Jews, Druze and Christians in the country – but also, and this is crucial, higher than the fertility rate for Muslims in other Sunni countries:

In Israel there is an average 3.1 children for each woman, in Syria and Jordan there is 2.9, in Morocco 2.4, in Algeria 2.2, Lebanon 1.9 and in Tunisia in Northern Africa there is an average 1.9 children per mother in Muslim households.

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