Israel municipality bars ‘Arabs’ [Palestinians] from community services

'Israel is an apartheid state' (Abbas Momani - AFP)

Middle East Monitor /  April 5, 2022

The Mayor of the Israeli city of Netivot, Yehiel Zohar, has barred Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the occupied West Bank from carrying out community service in various institutions, local media reports have said.

The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) said yesterday that it had sent a letter to Zohar, as well to the municipality’s judicial adviser, Tal Shlomi, asking them to back down from this “racist decision”.

Adalah said that it had also sent the letter to a number of figures and bodies inside the Israeli government.

In a Facebook post on 30 March, the municipality said it had decided to stop Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Palestinian citizens of Israel from carrying out community service in various institutions. However, after coming under criticism, Adalah said, the post was edited to remove mention of Palestinian citizens of Israel, leaving only Palestinians from the West Bank barred from such activity.

Last week the city of Ashkelon reversed a similar order following widespread criticism.

“The decision of the municipality clearly targeting Palestinian workers over their ethnic affiliation,” Adalah said, stressing: “This decision is racist and arbitrary as it considers any Palestinian from the occupied West Bank or Palestinians in Israel as a threat.”

Adalah stated that such decision is opposed by the Israeli law, which prevents racial discrimination on national or religious grounds among workers. Adalah also considered this a form of collective punishment.