misgav 88 248.
(photo credit: Courtesy Misgav Regional Council)
The Registrar for Cooperative Associations has
asked Mitzpe Aviv, a rural settlement in the Misgav Administrative
District, to respond to a demand to cancel a recently approved charter
requiring any prospective member to declare that he believes in the
values of Zionism, Jewish tradition and Israel as a Jewish and
demand was made earlier this month by the Association for Civil Rights
in Israel in a letter to the registrar, Uri Zeligman. ACRI attorney
Auni Bana charged that the new charter was meant to keep Israeli Arabs
from purchasing land and building homes in the community though Mitzpe
Aviv is built on state-owned land.
Bana charged that the charter violated a ruling passed by the
High Court of Justice prohibiting selection committees from rejecting
applicants on religious or ethnic grounds.
According to Alaa Mahajna, an attorney for Adalah, The Legal
Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, at least two other rural
settlements in the Misgav Region, Manof and Yuvalim, have already
adopted similar charters and others are expected to follow.
In his letter to Zeligman, Bana wrote that the
change in Mitzpe Aviv's regulations "included an amendment to the
article regarding aims and powers so that it defines the community as
one that embraces the values of rural settlement, Zionism, Jewish
tradition, the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic
state in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, tolerance and
Bana added that the conditions for acceptance into the
community had also changed substantially in keeping with the change in
the declared aims of the settlement. According to the new regulations,
anyone seeking to join the community would have to declare that he
shared the values listed above.
ask you not to approve the amendment to the regulations because it is
illegal and exceeds its prerogative," Bana told Zeligman. "The
amendment precludes any possibility for an Arab to live in the
community, thus violating his basic rights."
The Mitzpe Aviv secretariat was unavailable to answer phone calls from The Jerusalem Post
asking for a response to ACRI's charges.
The legal situation regarding the rights of selection committees
is uncertain. The High Court has said a committee cannot reject an Arab
or anyone else on religious or ethnic grounds. But it is unclear
whether a community can approve a charter that effectively, but not
explicitly, rules out various groups and requires applicants to declare
their agreement with the values included in the charter.
Meanwhile, a group of MKs has submitted a bill that would grant
settlements the right to accept or reject candidates on the basis of
their "suitability to fit in with the way of life and social texture of
the community as one which is socially and culturally united."