The Israeli Government acknowledges the dangerousness and seriousness of racism in Israel, and has decided to create a joint committee of Ministries to bring out a plan for counteracting racism
As a result of the Coalition Against Racisms efforts over the years, which included the demand for a Government plan to address the phenomena of racism against minorities, the government has finally decided to create a joint committee of ministries to create a plan to counteract racism in the country.
The Coalition Against Racism in Israel works on monitoring racially motivated attacks and advocates them legally in front of the responsible authorities. The Coalition welcomed the governments move toward organizing this joint committee after several demands to the government, the Ministry of Education and the police, to fight all racist activities, prohibit violence and strengthen democracy through a professional committee that aims to increase citizens awareness against violent and racist acts against minorities, and punishing the offenders.
The announcement of the decision to form a joint committee, coincides with the release of the Coalition Against Racisms annual report “Racism in Israel 2013”. The findings of the report shows a 10% increase in racism compared to 2012. The report also documented 106 racial incidents in which 44 were against Arabs, 54 against refugees, 4 against Mizrahim, 2 against Russians and 2 against homosexuals. This report is released annually in the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, on March 21st.
20 Cases of Discriminatory Legislation
The 18th Knesset was noted as the most racist in the history of the State, inter alia, due to dozens of racist and anti-democratic draft bills mainly directed at the persecution of the Arab minority in Israel, and to a lesser degree the populations of labor migrants and asylum seekers. This persecution is also often directed towards human rights organizations by means of draft bills that are capable of restricting the operating space of these organizations. In this report, 20 draft bills were recorded and documented, including some draft bills that were also on the Knessets table in the period of the preceding report that are still in legislation process. The preceding report documented 35 draft bills and laws that were passed. The significant reduction in this report is probably evidence of the failure of those Knesset members to pass the draft bills they submitted, and also because it may be that, for the time being, they have exhausted the potential of racist legislation.
107 Cases of Incitement by Elected Representatives and Public Leaders
A significant increase in racist statements made by elected persons is documented in the report, which recorded 107 incidents of incitement this year compared with 59 recorded last year. This years incidents can be divided as follows: 45 cases against Arabs compared with 26 last year, 54 incidents of incitement against refugees and labor migrants compared with 23 in the preceding report and 4 incidents against Mizrahim, including the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredim), compared with 8 in the preceding year, and in addition, 2 incidents against Russian speakers and 2 incidents against homosexuals and lesbians.
This significant increase in incitement incidents by public leaders also helped spur an increase in racist incidents by Jewish citizens against Arab citizens. Incidents of incitement against labor migrants and asylum seekers have doubled in number. It is hard not to make a connection between this increase and the period of the Knesset elections which may have served as the principal motive and catalyst for those public figures in their ongoing carnival of incitement.
22 Cases of Infringement on the Basic Freedoms of Arab Political Leadership
This years report happily records a decline in incidents of infringement of basic freedoms of Arab political leadership, 22 incidents this year compared with 37 in the previous year. Obviously, even 22 incidents should not be ignored in a country aspiring to equality and democracy. We will continue to monitor the situation.
24 Cases of Harmful Religious Sentiments
In this area the number of cases this year is almost double that of last year - 24 incidents were recorded compared with 13 in the previous report, including vandalism in Muslim, Christian and Jewish cemeteries and sacred places. These incidents are highly dangerous and are capable of inciting reactions from those belonging to the injured religious group.
213 Cases of Racism in Government Institutions, Private Businesses, and Public and Private Organizations
Institutional racism is on the rise, including by businesses and service providers in the private sector - 213 incidents compared with 155 last year. This number includes 29 cases of selection in night-clubs, mainly against Mizrahim and Ethiopians, as well as 61 demolitions of homes of Arabs in the Negev and 64 different incidents against Arabs in various fields - a total of 125 incidents against Arabs compared with 64 in the preceding report. There were 37 incidents against labor migrants and asylum seekers, 31 against Mizrahim, 4 against Ultra-Orthodox, 14 against Ethiopians and one against a Russian-speaker. This accumulation testifies to the rise in institutional racist incidents against Arabs (61/114), continuation of the same level against Ethiopians, a decline in events against Mizrahim and a significant rise against labor migrants and asylum seekers (9/31).
114 Cases of Racism among Citizens
114 incidents were recorded in this years report compared with 54 in the previous year, with a tripling of events on the part of Jewish citizens against Arab citizens (63 cases compared with 20 in the preceding year). There was also a rise in incidents against labor migrants and refugees, from 15 in the previous report to 34 in this one. Furthermore, this year there were 6 incidents against Haredim and 3 against Mizrahim. However, there was a decline in racist incidents against Ethiopians, from 15 in the previous year to 5 this year.
34 Cases of Racism in Educational Institutions
34 racist incidents were recorded in this category this year, compared with 37 in the preceding year, showing that there is no significant decline in the total of incidents. However 10 events against Arabs were recorded this year compared with 15 previously, and a decrease in racist events against Ethiopians was recorded, from 14 in the preceding report to 8 in the present one. An increase against Mizrahim was recorded, with 11 reported in this year compared with 5 incidents last year.
24 Cases of Racism by the Security Forces
An important and significant decline was recorded in racist incidents by the Police force against citizens. This year only 24 cases were recorded compared with 58 in the preceding year. No decrease was recorded in incidents against Arabs: 17 last year, the same as in the present report. However, a decline was recorded in incidents against Ethiopians, from 26 to 4 this year, and a decrease in racist incidents against refugees and labor migrants: from 22 last year to 3 in this report. The significant decline in racist incidents against Ethiopians may be the result of clear policy and directives.
Furthermore, the report recorded 4 incidents against labor migrants and one against a Russian speaker.
78 Cases of Racism in Sports Stadiums
This report records 78 incidents compared with 55 in the previous year. The figure includes a rise of about 30 percent in the number of cases documented mainly by observers who were present at the premiere football league games. It does not include incidents that occurred in the lower league games. Despite the various initiatives in this field, it appears that so long as enforcement measures are not announced, including penalties, this trend will not show any significant decline.
22 Cases of Incitement and Racism in Russian Language Media
22 cases of racist advertising were recorded in the Russian-language media against Arabs and labor migrants and asylum seekers in this years report, compared with 12 cases in the previous report. "Morashtenu" is also responsible for this section of the report and, in addition to reporting racist advertising, it also reported anti-democratic advertisements that are not covered by the definition of racism and therefore are not included in the figure stated here.
14 Cases of Racism against the Russian-Speaking Population
This is the first time that the annual report includes a chapter documenting racist incidents against the Russian-speaking public. The report, which was prepared by the "Morashtenu" Association, documents 14 racist incidents against this group. We have no figures from previous years except for a very few cases that were included in the preceding years report but not as part of a specific section. Adding incidents reported in other sections of this report brings the total number of incidents against the Russian-speaking population to 18.
19 Instances of Racist Publications in the Hebrew Media and Social Networks
This section documents 19 publications which reveal the large quantity of racist publications appearing mainly in the new social networks, but also in the mainstream Hebrew media. We intend to develop this section in the report to be published next year, with stricter and more extensive monitoring of the various publications in the new social networks in addition to the traditional media.