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Report: Israeli courts discriminate against Arab Israelis in conviction and sentences

February 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

An Israeli academic study has revealed that Israeli judges are harsher with 1948-Palestinians (Arab Israelis) – during the conviction stages and when sentenced after conviction – in comparison to Jewish Israelis.

The statistical study that was commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association and conducted by three Jewish Israeli researchers, found that Arab Israelis charged with the same crimes as their Jewish Israeli counterparts are more likely to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, for longer sentences.

The study involved 1,500 criminal cases handled in six magistrate courts and three district courts between 1996 and 2005 and proved that while 63.5 per cent of Arab Israelis convicted of violent crimes were sentenced to prison, only 43.7 per cent of Jewish Israelis convicted for the same crimes were.

The study also pointed to the discrepancies regarding probation sentences – 71.2 per cent for Jewish Israelis and 78.7 per cent for Arabs.

Regarding the length of prison sentences given to Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis, the study found that while the average prison sentence for Jews was nine and a half months, Arabs convicted of the same crimes were given 14 months on average.

The study was conducted by Jewish Israeli professors Giora Rahav, Ephraim Yaar and Yoram Rabin. They accused the Israeli criminal justice system of dealing more harshly with Arab Israeli defendants than Jewish Israelis.