Issues

Minorities in Israel

We hold Israel to account on the promise of the Declaration of Independence to “foster the development of the country for all its inhabitants.” We believe that the Israel, which reflects our Jewish values, must be a country that everyone living there can proudly and confidently call home, irrespective of their race or religion.

Even though we accept that the focus of the Zionist movement is the fulfilment of the dream for the Jewish people to have their own state, we do not think that this must come at the expense of the non-Jewish minorities within the state. Recognizing that Jews have lived as strangers in countries all over the world, we believe that we have a particular impetus to being sensitive to the plight of strangers who seek refugee in our midst.

When the Israeli government announced its plan to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to an unnamed third country in 2018, we joined the Israeli Reform Movement and other human rights organizations in protesting the deportation. Our activists joined rallies and fought for a landmark resolution to be passed by the Jewish Agency, which criticized the government’s proposed treatment of the asylum seekers and called on the government to ensure that “every migrant has an opportunity to apply for asylum and receive transparent due process in the examination of their application.” The resolution also urged the Israeli government to grant legal status to 500 African asylum seekers who arrived in the country years ago as unaccompanied minors and were housed, fed and educated in youth villages run by the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Education. While many of the asylum seekers continue to wait for clarification of their status, for now the threat of deportation has waned.

Check out our blog to read about the latest developments.

We believe that we have a particular impetus to being sensitive to the plight of strangers who seek refugee in our midst.

In support of non-Jewish minorities living within the State of Israel, we also support the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) in fighting racism and advancing a shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel. IRAC sees racism as one of the greatest threats to Israeli society today, and stands at the front-line of the battle. IRAC fights racist incitement by monitoring hate speech and hate crimes and demanding that investigations be launched, and public legitimacy and government funds denied to religious extremists that incite to racism. At the same time, IRAC engages in actions that affirm the reality and highlight best practices of a shared and equal society between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Our directors in Keren Kayemeth Leyisrael (KKL) in particular work to ensure that Arab towns also benefit from projects funded by KKL. We also monitor the treatment of Arabs and in particular Bedouin by KKL to work on just solutions to land ownership  disputes.

Check out our blog to read about the latest developments.

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