Adalah demands Israeli Transport Ministry refrain from cancelling bus stops in Arab Wadi Ara and Nazareth

Adalah warns that cancelling bus stops, as demanded by residents of the Jewish ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Har Yona in Nof Hagalil, will contribute to the creation of separate public transportation systems based on national identity.

On 23 November 2021, representatives of the Israeli Transportation Ministry announced that it will change the route of the bus travelling from Nof HaGalil (a city in the Northern District of Israel, formerly Nazareth Illit) to Jerusalem so that it would skip bus stops in Nazareth on Friday afternoons. It also announced that it would consider changing the bus' route with the completion of the construction of Highway 6 in the area, skipping bus stops in Wadi Ara (the Arab Triangle area in the center of Israel). In response, on 1 December 2021, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter to the Ministry and Egged (the largest public transportation company in Israel) demanding that it must refrain from adopting those decisions.  

 

CLICK HERE to read Adalah's letter to the Ministry of Transport and Egged [Hebrew]

 

In the letter, Adalah Attorney Salam Irsheid argues that the pressure exerted by Nof HaGalil residents to skip the bus stops in the Arab towns could allow for the creation of separate transportation systems based on national identity. Adalah stressed that this move will further deepen discrimination in the provision of public transportation services to Arab towns. In the letter, Adalah referred to the 2019 report of The State Comptroller, which indicates that Arab towns are at a disadvantage as compared to Israeli Jewish population centers when it comes to public transportation services, and other reports indicating severe deficiencies in the provision of those services to Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. In light of the above consideration, Adalah demanded the Ministry of Transport and Egged to refrain from adopting the decisions in question.

 

Adalah Attorney Salam Irsheid added:

"These decisions amount to a violation of the rights of tens of thousands of Arab citizens of Israel solely for the purpose of making Nof HaGalil more attractive for the Jewish religious public, as part of efforts to populate this area with more Israeli Jewish citizens. This decision-making framework is based on a racist perception that aggravates the deep-rooted discrimination. It is best that the Ministry of Transport will focus its efforts on closing extremely wide gaps in the availability of public transportation for citizens in Arab and Jewish towns rather than work to deepen them."

 

Photograph: Grauesel https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode