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A voting box in the last Israeli election in 2015.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Did Israel ban Arabs and Haredim from working at polling stations?
By LEON SVERDLOV
08/29/2019
"'After military service' is a code word for not Arab."
The company that is expected to operate the Central Election Committee's supervisory body on Election Day has published a recruitment ad that targets exclusively ex-IDF soldiers, Israeli media sources reported Wednesday.
 
The only criteria specified on the recruitment ad published by "Team 3," an HR company that is responsible for providing election supervisors to the Central Election Committee (CEC), was "full military service," raising claims of discrimination against Israeli Arabs and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews.
 
Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, diector of the Social and Economic Rights Unit of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), wrote an appeal to Supreme Court Chief Justice Hanan Meltzer explaining that this military service requirement is "irrelevant to election supervision," and that implementing such a requirement is a "suspicious and oblique" attempt to avoid hiring those who do not serve in the IDF in the first place, namely ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs.

He added that the criteria also discriminates against people who immigrated to Israel at an older age and therefore did not serve in the army, as well as those who could not enlist in the IDF due to a disability. 

Gan-Mor said that the CEC "needs to be aware of harming the public trust in the committee's neutrality, as it may create an impression that in the eyes of the CEC, minority groups are not capable of supervising on Election Day."
 
MK  Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash), tweeted that, "'after military service' is a code word for 'not Arab,' and by the way – 'not haredi' as well," saying that similar ads by restaurants are considered racist. She added that now that the CEC is only allowing those who served in the army to supervise polling stations, it is essentially announcing that only Jews can supervise this election.
 
 
MK Esawi Frej (Democratic Union) called Team 3 a "racist company" and said that the CEC should cease working with the organization.
 
 
Adalah deputy director attorney Sawsan Zaher said that election supervision is not a security position, which makes the criteria illegitimate.
 
"The military service criteria is a code word for not accepting Arab citizens to this position, which means there will be ethnicity-based illegal discrimination in the manning of the position on Election Day," she said.
 
"Besides the clear violation of the Equal Opportunities Law, the prevention of Arab citizens from supervising on Election Day conveys an unfair message that [Arab citizens] can't be trusted with protecting the fairness of the elections," she said.

Following several appeals, the baseline criteria for application was changed, but still requires applicants to have either served full service in the IDF, served in a friendly state's army, been in the service of the police for at least 18 months or undergone basic guard training, as approved by the Israel police.
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