Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two-tier Israel

It's not just Jews who are endangered by hazardous industrial waste – other groups are equally entitled to respite

Seth Freedman, Tuesday December 9 2008

".....ACRI's (Association of Civil Rights in Israel) annual report, published yesterday, stated that "the main obstacle to preventing discrimination in Israel stems from the lack of true internalisation of the value of equality in Israeli society", a view born out time and again in the double standards applied by both the public and their elected officials. In the wake of the cancer scare in Tel Arad, one father's words spoke volumes about the way in which he – and others – view the society in which they live: "At the end of the day, this matter is important to every parent in Israel. We were all soldiers once, or have kids in the service".

In his eyes, Israelis are those that served in the army and/or have children who follow suit. No mention of those citizens not of Jewish ancestry, who on paper should warrant as much compassion and concern as those of Jewish extraction. But it's hardly surprising that he sees his country through such Star of David-tinted spectacles, given the way in which the government and its agencies encourages Israeli society to view itself. The Jewish state; the land sworn to us by our forefathers; the refuge and homeland of every Jew on earth, hardly conducive to an image of multiculturalism and tolerance of those not of the flock.

Developments in Tel Arad are worth monitoring, not just for those of us who served inside the apparently-poisonous clime of its razor wire perimeter fence, but for anyone with an interest in how Israeli officialdom deals with a situation that it has known about for years, but done nothing to solve until it became apparent that Jewish children were at risk as well........."

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