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Haaretz: 'Softer' version of discriminatory bill still unethical

February 11, 2014 at 10:17 am

In an editorial published on Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz condemned the amended version of the Contributors to the State bill that was supposed to soften the extreme discriminatory nature of the original version of the draft law. The amended bill was approved on Monday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

The original version, which was criticized by the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, was sponsored by the governmental coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin and was approved by the ministerial committee despite the opposition of Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health and Minister Yael German.

According to Haaretz, the original bill’s “provisions included preferential treatment for military or civilian national service veterans in admission to higher education, in government hiring (and wages and benefits), and in residential building rights. Weinstein ruled that the bill would cause injury to population groups that already suffer from severe discrimination and would violate the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom.”

Haaretz added that although the new version “provides for ‘softer’ benefits”, the bill “in effect constitutes systematic discrimination, in every walk of life, against entire population groups that are by law exempt from compulsory military or civilian national service.”

Haaretz criticized Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon, who helped draft the new version, accusing him of failing to grasp “the ethical failure such a law’s very existence entails.”

“No democracy can accept such discrimination, especially when it affects already disadvantaged communities, namely Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews. The fact that military service is compulsory for a large part of the population does not justify a law that would have far-reaching consequences on civilian life, far beyond the military realm,” Haaretz added.

Report by 1948 Arabs