8 January 2014
A new draft bill by MK Yariv Levin to grant Christians extra rights over Muslims
We are back to the days of the Ottoman rule and the British mandate. Israel 2014: according to a series of draft bills, proposed and promoted by Yariv Levin (chairman of the governing coalition, Likud Yisrael Beitenu), Christians will receive “separate representation and a separate frame of reference.” The bills will grant Christians in Israel extra rights over Muslims, including equal opportunities in employment. Moreover, Levin goes to the extreme of stating “I make sure not to refer to them as Arabs, because they’renot Arabs.” To top it off, he is proposing that Christians will be allowed to register themselves as just “Christians” under “Nationality” in their ID cards, to officially distinguish themselves from Arabs.
This series of proposed bills are set against the systemic policy of the state of Israel to continue to divide the Palestinian society inside Israel. Only recently, in the mass resistance to the Prawer Plan, we have seen the uniting of all groups of the Palestinian society, raising a united voice against the government’s plan to displace tens of thousands of Bedouins from their land. This united voice scares to government, and it will make every effort to act to divide our society.
In the last year, there has been a small group of Christians who are claiming they are not Arabs, they only speak Arabic, but are in no way Arabs, and are calling on Christians to serve in the Israeli Defence Forces. This small group does not in any way represent the majority of the Palestinian society within Israel. However, as I believe in one’s right to self-definition, I must therefore respect their right to define their identity as they see fit. On this point I am sure many will disagree with me, but since I define myself as a Palestinian, and I expect others to recognize my right to self-definition, then it follows that I must respect their right.
The state of Israel, however, is taking this small group to be representative of all Christians inside Israel, and using this against us to divide us.
By stating that the bill will grant equal opportunities in employment to Christians, it then follows that: (a) at the moment, there are no equal opportunities in employment for all citizens, and (b) if Christians will be granted this equality, then it means there will be active discrimination in employment against Muslims. Let’s not forget that in Israel there is a law on equal opportunities in employment.
Lastly, I can’t even find the adequate word to describe the fact that Levin actually views Christianity as a Nationality. Insane? Illogical? Crazy? Hallucinatory? Pick your choice of words.