Affirmative action for Arab, Haredi IDF vets passes early vote

The legislation would boost the chances of anyone who served the country in military, civilian or national service to be hired for civil service.

December 20, 2017 16:35
1 minute read.
IDF Haredi Hetz paratroopers

Haredi Hetz unit in the IDF Paaratroopers Brigade board plane for first parachute July 12, 2017.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Arabs, haredim and others who served in the IDF or did civilian service may be preferred in civil service hiring, according to a bill passed in a preliminary reading on Wednesday.

The legislation proposed by Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev, Likud MK Anat Berko and Yisrael Beytenu MK Hamad Amar would give a boost to anyone in a group guaranteed representation in the civil service who served the country in military, civilian or national service.

“In Israel, there are members of minorities who chose to tie their fate to that of the country,” the bill’s explanatory section reads. “Some of them are discriminated against in the areas in which they live. Some suffer from violence and incitement, only because they chose to serve the State of Israel and integrate in it.”

Yogev said he met with representatives of the Druse and Beduin communities who enthusiastically supported the proposal.

“I hope to create justice and social fairness for those who choose to serve,” he said.

Amar, who is Druse, said: “Imagine two 18-year-old youths. One goes to study and the other goes to the army. The one who served the country and fought for it starts his life when he’s 22..., and the one who didn’t go to the army is already in graduate school. When they apply for the same job, we know who has more experience.”

Berko's version of the bill includes preference for combat soldiers, a move meant to boost flagging motivation to join combat units in the IDF.

The Joint List came out against the initiative, with MK Yousef Jabareen saying it “makes guaranteed representation [in the civil service] of the Arab population meaningless. The point of guaranteed representation is to make room for weaker groups that are not represented.

Does anyone argue that people who serve in the army aren’t represented?” Meretz MK Esawi Frej called the bill “shameful,” saying that every civil service job meant for Arabs will go to Druse.

The bill’s reading passed with 67 in favor and 17 opposed, with some MKs from the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid in the opposition supporting it.

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