Israeli municipality bars Arabs from community services – Middle East Monitor

The mayor of the Israeli town of Netivot, Yehiel Zohar, has banned Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the occupied West Bank from performing community service at various institutions, local media reported.

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

Adalah said he also sent the letter to a number of figures and bodies within the Israeli government.

In a Facebook post on March 30, the municipality said it had decided to bar Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Arab citizens of Israel from performing community service at various institutions. However, after facing criticism, Adalah said, the message was edited to remove mention of Palestinian citizens of Israel, leaving only West Bank Palestinians banned from such activities.

Last week, the city of Ashkelon rescinded a similar order following widespread criticism.

“The municipality’s decision clearly targets Arab workers because of their ethnicity,” Adalah said, stressing, “This decision is racist and arbitrary because it views any Palestinian in the occupied West Bank or Arab in Israel as a threat.”

Adalah said such a move is resisted by Israeli law, which prohibits racial discrimination on national or religious grounds among workers. Adalah also saw this as a form of collective punishment.

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