Exclusion of Arab Citizens of Israel from Civil Service Jobs, Municipalities in the Mixed Cities and in the Private Sector
(Haifa, Israel) In June 2011, Adalah sent three legal letters to demand an end to the exclusion of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from the labor market solely on the basis of their national belonging. The three cases demonstrate the various ways of excluding Arabs from the labor market, provide explanations for the high unemployment rate among Arab men and women.
Bill granting preference to former soldiers in civil service positions
On 19 June 2011, Adalah sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of the government and Knesset demanding that they reject a legislative bill that would grant preference to former soldiers in civil service positions. This bill was recently endorsed by the government and the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee ahead of its first reading in the Knesset plenum.
In the letter, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stated that the bill threatened to exclude Arab citizens from the civil service, the largest employer in Israel. The vast majority of Arab citizens are exempt from performing military service for political and historical reasons. As a result, favoring former soldiers discriminates against Arab citizens on the basis of their national belonging, in violation of the Equal Opportunities in Employment Law. Adalah argued that the enactment of the bill into law stood to compound existing discrimination in the acceptance of Arabs to governmental positions, especially Arab women. The percentage of Arab employees in state services currently stands at 7.5% and for Arab women 2%, while Arab citizens make up around 20% of the total population in Israel.
The letter (Hebrew)
Arab citizens constitute 15% of the population of Natserat Illit, but only 5.1% of employees in the town's municipality
On 22 June 2011, Adalah sent a letter to the Mayor of Nazareth Illit, Shimon Gapso, demanding that he guarantee adequate representation for Arab residents of the town in the municipality. According to official statistics, Arab citizens account for 15% of the town's population; however, entire departments have no Arab staff, including the welfare, legal and emergency departments, which employ 83 staff. In the Accounting Department, one of 27 employees is Arab, and two of 46 employees in the Administration and Human Resources Department are Arab. In total 28 municipal employees out of 550 are Arab, i.e. just 5.1% of the staff body.
In the letter, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stressed that appropriate representation of Arabs in these positions is very important since it has a direct impact on the lives of Arab citizens living in the town. Furthermore, according to Supreme Court case law, every public authority is obliged to guarantee adequate representation for Arabs. The failure to ensure adequate representation for the Arab in the municipality is therefore against the law and in violation of the right to equality.
The letter (Hebrew)
The "Dafai Zahav" directory publishes advertisements for companies under the heading "Hebrew labor"
On 20 June 2011, Adalah sent a letter on behalf of the Partnership: Organizations for an Equal, Shared and Democratic Society Forum to Nir Limfrat, the General Director of the Dafai "Dafai Zahav" (Yellow Pages) directory and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor to demand that advertisements published in the directory by various companies under the heading of "Hebrew labor" be removed immediately. The advertising companies offer a variety of basic services, including transportation and plumbing, and the condition "Hebrew labor" means that they do not employ Arab citizens on the basis of their national belonging.
In the letter, Attorney Sawsan Zaher emphasized that the Equal Opportunities in Employment Law imposes a fine of up to NIS 150,600 for parties that discriminate against workers on the basis of their national or religious belonging. Thus the fact that Dafai Zahav published job postings that discriminate against Arab citizens constitutes a violation of the law.
Accordingly, Adalah called on Dafai Zahav to remove all advertisements under the heading of "Hebrew labor" and that the inspector responsible for the implementation of the Equal Opportunities in Employment Law conduct an inquiry into all the companies that discriminate against Arab citizens and investigate their hiring practices.
To join a campaign by the Partnership: Organizations for an Equal, Shared and Democratic Society Forum to remove all advertisements posed for "Hebrew labor" click here.
The letter (Hebrew)