I’lam - Media Center for Palestinians in Israel

Court overturns Haifa University's discriminatory policy on student dorms

After nearly a year of deliberations, Haifa District Court issued a ruling cancelling regulations at Haifa University that gave preferential treatment to Jewish students needing accommodation over Arab students. The university, roughly a fifth of whose students are Arabs, tried to conceal the discrimination by arguing that in allocating housing it was preferring students who had completed their army service. However, the court accepted the argument of the Adalah legal centre that because very few Arab citizens do military service this regulation was being used in effect to discriminate against Arab students. 

How Israel failed its Arab citizens before, during and after the Lebanon war

During the five weeks of fighting between Israel and Hizbullah this summer, the north of Israel took a battering from some 4,000 rockets. According to the Foreign Ministry, the civilian fatalities from the rockets numbered 43, including 18 Arab citizens. Of course, rockets don’t discriminate between Jew and Arab, as public officials were quick to point out. But unfortunately, the Israeli government does. There were many reasons why a high number of Arabs died in the war, a fact that has surprised many observers, including apparently the Israeli government, as it was widely assumed that Hizbullah would not endanger the lives of fellow Arabs. 

Arab Journalists demonstrate against the Israeli mass media coverage of the war on Lebanon

Following an initiative by the I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, dozens of Arab journalists demonstrated on, Monday, 7 August 2006, at 18:30, addressing the Israeli, Arab and international broadcasting stations regarding their coverage of the war on Lebanon. The demand made was for the Israeli mass media to maintain their ethical compass and refrain from blindly follow the war drums. It was felt that there has been a blatant disregard by the Israeli media of their ethical responsibility as journalistic professionals to provide the necessary information to encourage enlightened public opinion. 

Letter from Ma'ariv Editor Justifies Lack of Gaza Beach Coverage

This is a translation of correspondence between Keshev, an Israeli organisation that monitors the Hebrew media, and Amnon Dankner, the editor of Israel’s second largest newspaper, Ma’ariv. Keshev wrote to Dankner after the paper failed to offer coverage on its front page of the shelling of a beach in Gaza on Friday 9 June that killed seven members of one family and caused dozens of injuries. All of the Palestinian dead were civilians. Maariv buried the details of the deaths inside the Sunday paper, the first to be published after the incident. 

Ministry plans ‘universal’ immigration law to ban Arabs from residency rights in Israel

The Justice Minister, Haim Ramon, has ordered his department to hurriedly draft the country’s first immigration law to protect Israel’s Jewish majority. He said a Basic Law was needed within eight months, the expiry date of the temporary Nationality and Entry into Israel Law. The Knesset has repeatedly renewed the law since the it was first passed in July 2003 to prevent Palestinians from the occupied territories who marry an Israeli from gaining residency or citizenship rights in Israel. 

Olmert cooks the books to deprive Arab families of child benefits

In an attempt to lure the small ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism into his new government, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to pay extra child allowance to religious Jewish families with many children in a way that guarantees the extra payments do not also go to large Arab families. This is the latest in a long line of manoeuvres by successive Israeli governments to ensure that Jewish and Arab citizens receive differential child allowances so that higher birth rates among Jewish families can be encouraged without also encouraging increased fertility among Arab families. 

Israeli police commander promoted despite role in deaths of Arab citizens

The head of Israel’s paramilitary Border Police, Benzi Sau, has been promoted to a senior position in the Public Security Ministry in defiance of the findings of a state inquiry that implicated him in the chain of events that led to the killing of 12 Arab citizens and a labourer from Gaza by the security forces in October 2000. This is Sau’s third promotion since the deaths, despite a recommendation from the Or Commision of Inquiry that Sau not be considered for promotion again until September 2007. 

Israel's Arabic-language press coverage of the Israeli elections

24th March 2006 - The below is a summary of coverage of the Israeli general elections in the Arab press in Israel, compiled by the I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel. Kol il Arab conducted a survey which forecasts that all of the Arab parties will pass the 2% minimum required to get official representation in the Knesset, and 69% of eligible Arab voters will vote in the election next week. The Communist Party will get more than 3 seats, the NDA more than 3 seats, and the United Arab List 4 seats. 

Israeli party leader Avigdor Lieberman calls for Arab MKs to be executed

Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, has twice called in less than a week for Arabs MKs to be put on trial for treason and executed if found guilty. Lieberman, who surprised observers by winning 11 seats in the March elections, was recently courted by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a seat in his new cabinet. On 8 May, Lieberman presented a speech to the Knesset in which he proposed that any Arab politicians who were disloyal to the state should be punished. He added: “How is it that no Arab MK sings the national anthem or raises the flag on Independence Day?” 

Poll shows 62% of Israelis favour emigration of Arab citizens

In its latest poll, the Israel Democracy Institute found that 62 per cent of Israelis support the government encouraging the country’s more than one million Arab citizens to emigrate. The Democracy Index survey, published on 9 May, contrasts with another recent poll, by the Geocartography Institute, which found that 40 per cent of Israelis favoured the emigration of Arab citizens. Recent polls have shown that, while on average 40 per cent of Israelis want Arab citizens forced to leave the country, that figure rises close to 60 per cent when respondents are asked, more ambiguously, if they want the Arab population “encouraged” to emigrate.