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LETTER: All Israeli's are treated equally


It is often said that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. However, the chorus of critics within Israel and the increasing disillusionment towards it by many American Jews seriously challenges this conventional wisdom.

 

The recent appointment of David Freidman as US ambassador to Israel by Donald Trump has created an uproar and is shattering the Jewish community. In terms of politics we should not confuse form and content, or rhetoric and reality.

Consider the following. Israel's education chief is now introducing legislation to curtail and muzzle "political preaching" within the country's universities. This is intended to limit academic freedom and critics of Israeli policy. Recently Israel's Ministry of Education reprimanded a Jerusalem high school principal for allowing a spokesman from Break the Silence, a group of former IDS solders who oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank, to speak to students. (Haaretz, Dec 8 and 10th, 2016).

Consider the following. The Coalition Whip for the current right-wing government has said that Arab-Israeli's, 20 percent of the country's population, should not vote. (Haaretz, Dec 10, 2016.)

Consider the following. The Ultra-Orthodox minority in Israel is now attempting to impose its will on the secular majority, as witnessed by the prohibition on civil marriage, rejecting the legitimacy of religious conversions, disapproval of interfaith- and interracial marriages, Friday night "Shabbat Wars", forbidding women to pray with men at the western Wailing Wall, refusing to allow non-Orthodox Jewish women to use the ritualistic baths (mikvahs), and the failure to recognize Conservative and Reform Jews, who are referred to as "dogs."

Consider the following. More recently some Orthodox rabbis have forbidden girls aged 5 or over from riding a bike because it is  "provocative", as well as forbidding Orthodox women from going to university (Haaretz).

It is clear that not all Israeli's are treated equally, and that there is discrimination based on religion, gender, and ethnicity.  

Richard Deaton,

Stanley Bridge

 

The recent appointment of David Freidman as US ambassador to Israel by Donald Trump has created an uproar and is shattering the Jewish community. In terms of politics we should not confuse form and content, or rhetoric and reality.

Consider the following. Israel's education chief is now introducing legislation to curtail and muzzle "political preaching" within the country's universities. This is intended to limit academic freedom and critics of Israeli policy. Recently Israel's Ministry of Education reprimanded a Jerusalem high school principal for allowing a spokesman from Break the Silence, a group of former IDS solders who oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank, to speak to students. (Haaretz, Dec 8 and 10th, 2016).

Consider the following. The Coalition Whip for the current right-wing government has said that Arab-Israeli's, 20 percent of the country's population, should not vote. (Haaretz, Dec 10, 2016.)

Consider the following. The Ultra-Orthodox minority in Israel is now attempting to impose its will on the secular majority, as witnessed by the prohibition on civil marriage, rejecting the legitimacy of religious conversions, disapproval of interfaith- and interracial marriages, Friday night "Shabbat Wars", forbidding women to pray with men at the western Wailing Wall, refusing to allow non-Orthodox Jewish women to use the ritualistic baths (mikvahs), and the failure to recognize Conservative and Reform Jews, who are referred to as "dogs."

Consider the following. More recently some Orthodox rabbis have forbidden girls aged 5 or over from riding a bike because it is  "provocative", as well as forbidding Orthodox women from going to university (Haaretz).

It is clear that not all Israeli's are treated equally, and that there is discrimination based on religion, gender, and ethnicity.  

Richard Deaton,

Stanley Bridge

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