- Posted July 21, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New violence in Israel and West Bank
Israel Citizens Rights FAQ
One of the confusing issues among those not living in the State of Israel, is civil rights.
Today Israel contains 30% Arab Israeli Citizens. One can ask, is there a difference between Jewish rights and the rights of residents with other religions, such as the Arabs?
This short article aims to answer this question.
= Declaration of Independence:
In Israel "Declaration of Independence", it was stated that Israel will be a "Jewish and Democratic state". However, the "Jewish" part doesn't mean that its a Jewish-ONLY state. Furthermore, it was stated that every citizen will get the exact same rights, without relation to its sex, age and of course - religion.
= Citizen Rights:
Today, every citizen in Israel - whether he/she is a Jew, Muslim, Catolic etc. get the same rights. That means that every citizen can vote to the Knesset (congress), be elected to the Knesset, work at the gov., get medical aid, get nil protection etc. .
For instance, Salim Jubran, which is a Hebrew University graduated, works as a judge in Israel Supreme Court. In addition, he was the chairman of the Central Election Committee of the 20th Knesset.
= Affirmative Action:
Israel gives affirmative action for minority groups. Thus, Arabs, Druze (etc.) get affirmative action which can help them integrate in the community and improve their social and economical status.
An example in the academic field: The universities define lower enrollment requirements for these groups in order to ease their enrollment, in addition to allocate dedicated seats only for minority groups. There are scholarships available only for minority groups. There are reserved seats for minority groups in the gov. (Ministry of Education, Justice, State Advocacy etc.). Another example that could be brought is that minority groups get money aid at each month from the nil.
At Israel, every resident (man and woman), excluding people with disabilities, is required to serve in the army after graduating from high school (ie, age 18).
This requirement does not exist for two populations - Ortodox tradditional Yeshiva students (Jews) and minorities (Arabs and Druze).
Despite this, it is possible for every citizen wherever he/she is to volunteer to the army. This can be seen in fact, as there are many Druze serve in the army, as well as well as Arabs and Yeshiva Jews students.
= Israel Symbols:
Israel indeed has Jewish characteristics, as shown in the Declaration of Independence. For instance, the flag, state symbols, anthem, language, the official day of rest, and so on.
However, deciding from that that Israel is Jewish-only state is absolutely wrong, as can be shown in the examples:
Language - there are three official languages in Israel: English, Hebrew, and of couarse, Arabic. Thus, for example, government documents (such as laws) should be published in each official language; Signage in the streets appears in all official languages, tests of the Ministry of Education distributed in each official languages and the like.
Study program - High school students are required to be tested on the Tanakh. However, Arabs and Druze students has a different program in which they are required to be tested on the Koran. Of course, all of the students (Jews, Arabs etc.) are being tested on the same core subjects, such as mathematics.
Day off - The official day of rest in Israel is Saturday, as prescribed in Judaism. However, anyone can request change his/her own day off, for instance, to Sunday. In this case, the employer is obliged to meet this demand.
To sum up, as you can see, the land of Israel is a State in which there are many different cultures. State, which treasure the democratic values and give equal rights of every citizen, without distinction of any kind.