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New law to give ex-soldiers in Israel special privileges

February 13, 2014 at 2:56 am

The Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs in Israel has ratified a new law relating to the “rights of servants of the state”. The proposed legislation will give demobilised soldiers and the family members of servicemen and women killed and wounded in the line of duty special privileges and preferential treatment in many areas of life, such as the workplace, wages and employment conditions, public services, housing and higher education

The Adalah Centre for Human Rights sent a letter to committee members on the eve of the vote asking them not to agree to the new law. Proposed by Yariv Levin, MK, of Likud, the bill, said Adalah, is “unconstitutional” and infringes the basic rights of Israel’s Arab citizens who are not allowed to serve in the armed forces.

According to Adalah’s lawyer, Sawsan Zaher, “The proposed law is directed against Israeli Arab who are exempted, for historical and political reasons, from military service. If we read the text carefully, we can see that its goal is to show the Arab minority in Israel as a group of ‘others’ who do not deserve equal rights.” This law, added Zaher, violates the constitutional rights of Arab citizens, including the right to dignity and equality.

Adalah’s letter pointed out that “institutional discrimination” is still practiced against the Arabs in Israel. “Rather than the enactment of laws which aim to limit discrimination, we see more and more laws which seek to justify discrimination.”