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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Israel An Apartheid Country?

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Previously Published on IsraelAmerica
Everyday I open the internet to read that Israel is an apartheid country. Although the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is very small in number, it is getting a lot of press and its lies are repeated everywhere.  Left wing radical politicians all over the world  are calling Israel an apartheid country.  And the news media are too busy covering which latest basketball player is "schtupping" one of the Kardashians, can't be bothered to check the facts.
As an Israeli citizen living in Tel Aviv, I am going to keep it real and tell you the truth. What crack pipe are these people smoking from? Is their hatred of Israel and Jews so extreme that they make up complete lies, fabrications and partial truths just to distort reality. The Free Dictionary defines apartheid as "an official policy of racial segregation involving political, legal and economic discrimination.
First off, Israel is a democracy the only one in the Mid-East, and 1.8 million of her citizens (20% of the Israeli population) are Arab. Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, scream, curse, demonstrate and in the case of Knesset Member Hanan Zoabi, an Arab woman call for Israel's destruction and still serve in the Knesset.  Meanwhile, women in Saudi Arabia which bans women drivers, can't even drive a car.  63% of Israeli Arabs voted in the election last month. The Arab Joint List is now the third largest party in the Knesset. That is a higher turnout than in the average American election. An Israeli Arab Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran was the Chairman of the Israeli Election Committee. Over 15% of the total votes casts for the winning right wing Likud Party were cast by Israeli Arabs. Huh?  But this is apartheid.
Living in Tel Aviv, I interact with Israeli Arabs everyday whether its on the phone with customer service or in supermarkets, stores, restaurants, at the bank or in the pharmacy.  One of my doctors that treated me at Ichilov Hospital during my recent surgery was an Israeli Arab as were some of the nurses. The patient in the next room was an Israeli Arab. I never saw signs at the hospital that said  "For Jews Only".
The upscale gym where I am a member is about 10% Israeli Arab. We sweat and work out together. I never saw a sign on the bench press that said "For Jews Only". Riding back to Tel Aviv from Haifa on a Saturday night, the train was a mix of soldiers going back to their bases and Israeli Arab Tel Aviv University students all sitting next to one another side by side.  Imagine that in apartheid Israel.  A few weeks ago walking home from Jaffa, I met a young Jordanian citizen who was so in love with Tel Aviv he wants to stay and work here. Let's speak "tachles". Is there discrimination in Israel?  Yes, just like anywhere in the world. Is it wrong? Yes and I am ashamed every time I hear of an incident. Of course the same way I would be ashamed of racism in America.
While I was President of Hillel in my college in New Jersey in the age before the internet, I can tell you that Jews on campus were subject to many anti-Semitic incidents that today would make the news. One student who wore a kippah,  got his nose broken when someone threw a rock at him . He then transferred schools. Once the door to my dorm room was covered in swastikas. Another time the pizza delivery man screamed anti-Semitic comments at my friends while delivering pizza. Hatred happens everyday in America. Should we divest and boycott America?
But Israel is our home, so when it happens here- in our home -it brings shame upon all of us. Yes we still have social problems here. We have a ways to go in order to make the Israeli Arab population feel like they are really Israeli and not just in name only. But there are now more Israeli Arabs studying in universities, more Israeli Arabs volunteering to serve in the Israeli Army then anytime before. Israeli Arabs like Muhammad Zoabi, cousin of Knesset Member Hanan Zoabi, who begins his army service very shortly.   Proud Israeli Arab Muslim political activist Anett Haskia who sent all of her kids to the Israeli Army.  Israel had an Israeli Arab Miss Israel  Rana Raslan.  This week one of the torch lighters in the upcoming official Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration will be Lucy Aharish -the popular and sometimes controversial Israeli Arab newscaster and talk show host. But we are an apartheid country?
There will always be a few radical "Kapos"-self hating Jews like Yonatan Shapira, Gilad Atzmon and Ilan Pappe, who make a very good living speaking against the State of Israel to the delight of anti-Semites everywhere much like seals performing for their food. They are all a few french fries short of a happy meal.
But for all its faults and there are quite a few, the democratic State of Israel is not racist. And the 1.8 million Israeli Arabs are free to live however they choose. Which is a choice that Jews living in most Arab countries didn't have -since they were forced to leave. How many Jews remain in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt or Tunisia?  A choice that Jews can't have in Saudi Arabia, a country that bans Jews. But oh ya I forgot, that's acceptable because the Saudis are "our eternal friends" so its "cool" that Jews are forbidden. Most of the Middle East is now "Judenfrei" (free of Jews) but in the blind eyes of some, Israel is an apartheid state.  I understand.
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