Challenging Discriminatory Ban that Prevents Driving Instructors from Teaching in Carmiel on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays

Haifa District Court, Admin Petition 692/08 Khaled Farhat, et. al. v. The Mayor of Carmiel, et. al.

Adalah: The ban is illegal and violates the rights of freedom of movement and freedom of occupation of Palestinian citizens of Israel

The Municipality of Carmiel, located in the north of Israel, has erected traffic notices at all of the entrances to the town banning driving instructors' cars from entering it on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, and Jewish religious holidays. Driving instructors’ cars have also been banned from the town’s industrial zone and the trading center, which are very busy on Saturdays. The ban greatly harms the right to work of Arab driving instructors because Jewish instructors do not work on Saturdays.

On 23 September 2008, Adalah submitted a petition to the Haifa District Court on behalf of four Arab driving instructors and in its own name demanding the lifting of the ban as it violates the constitutional rights of freedom of movement and freedom of occupation. Adalah Attorney Adel Badeer filed the case.

A number of years ago the Municipality of Carmiel erected a similar traffic notice, which led to strong protests by Arab driving instructors. Following these protests, the municipality allowed them to give driving lessons in the town’s industrial zone on Saturdays. However, several months ago the municipality re-imposed the ban throughout all of the jurisdictional areas of the municipality. There is no overall ban on the entry of cars into Carmiel on Saturdays and Jewish religious holidays, and signs have not been placed in neighborhoods within the town in which religious Jews live or adjacent to synagogues, but only at the entrances to the town. It thus can be inferred that the municipality’s aim is not to safeguard the sensitivities of religious Jews, who do not use transport on Saturdays, but rather that improper considerations underlie the ban on the cars of driving instructors.

In the petition, Adalah argued that the ban will lead to the severe interruption of the instructors' work. There is no point in teaching in the surrounding Arab villages, given that the driving test itself is held in Carmiel. In addition, these villages do not have traffic signs, which are necessary for instruction. The ban further harms the work and livelihood of the instructors, because many of their students are either secondary school or university students, or people who work late during the week, and for whom Saturdays are their days off and the most convenient day for taking driving lessons.

Adalah emphasized that the placement of the traffic notices contravenes the law, as the Municipality of Carmiel does not have the authority to erect them, even within its own jurisdictional borders, without acquiring the necessary licenses and obtaining the consent of the central traffic signage authorities, and without consulting with a local traffic police commander. Adalah has learned from the central traffic signage authorities that Carmiel has not obtained the licenses required to erect such traffic signs.

Administrative Petition 692/08, Khaled Farhat, et al. v. The Mayor of Carmiel, et al.

The Petition (Hebrew)