Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans hold a banner against violence and racism ahead of their team's match against Bnei Sakhnin in an Israeli Premier League game, at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem February 10, 2013. The banner reads, "Against violence and racism in the field". REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Two hundred and thirty complaints of racism and discrimination were filed in 2018, according to a yearly report by the Government Unit for Coordinating the Struggle Against Racism on Wednesday – a threefold rise compared to 2017.
Most of the complaints came from the Ethiopian and Arab sectors, with 40% of the complaints coming from Ethiopians and 32% coming from Arabs. The remainder of the complaints came from haredim, Mizrahi Jews and immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The complaints mainly addressed racist statements and publications, discrimination in receiving service, discrimination in employment, racism by the police and racism in education.
Examples of incidences reported in 2018 include separation between Bedouins and Jews at a swimming pool in a town in southern Israel, concern that the Budget car rental company discriminates against Arabs, and concern that a country club in Yokne'am in northern Israel discriminated against a Druze couple who tried to join the club.
In the religious sector, it was reported that the Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef seemingly compared black people to monkeys in a weekly class
There were also reports that Kashrut supervisors discriminated against and degraded Ethiopians at workplaces because of their race. The anti-racism unit said that they appealed to the Chief Rabbinate to change its ruling, which casts doubt on the Jewishness of Ethiopian immigrants.
In the health sector, there were reports that Ethiopian parents were forced to vaccinate their babies against tuberculosis, even though the parents were born in Israel.
The report does mention some positive achievements though, including a decrease in “over-policing” of Ethiopian minors. However, the report also mentions that there was a 10.3% rise in the cases opened against Ethiopian adults.
A case was also reported in which a judge laughed at a defendant because of his Yemenite accent during a court case, according to the report.
In the IDF, abuse against Druze soldiers was reported. The IDF is monitoring the relevant unit.
“In order to significantly advance the struggle against institutional racism, a comprehensive law must be enacted to prevent racism and racist discrimination,” said Oka "Kobi" Zana, head of the Government Unit for Coordinating the Struggle Against Racism.
One of the unit’s tasks is to monitor the implementation of recommendations made by the Palmor committee for the elimination of racism. Of the 51 recommendations made by the committee, 34 have been implemented, eight are in the process of being implemented, and nine have not been enacted yet.
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