Is Israel Really an Apartheid State?
By Hannah Dash
“Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great water!” (Isaiah 17:12)
While our Bibles For Israel ministry workers share the Good News of Yeshua with both Jews and Arabs here in the Holy Land, a number of Christian denominations with millions of Christian congregants around the world accuse Israel of being an apartheid state.
Global Smear Campaign: Al-Quds Committee holding up banners and chanting in front of Seattle’s Macy’s store in the United States this year, falsely accusing Israel of apartheid and genocide.
Is it true that Israel is an Apartheid State?
Maybe someone should tell that to the Arab Israeli workers such as the young Arab cashier who helped me at the local supermarket, the Arab mechanic who fixed my car, the Arab bus driver who takes my kids to school every day, the Arab girl who served up my kid’s McFalafel at McDonald’s, and the Arab bank manager who just opened up my new account.
Everyday in Israel Jewish people live and work amongst Arab business owners, Arab lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers, who have jobs and own businesses in every area of life.
It seems that Christians who believe Israel is an apartheid state have failed to mention this ‘fact’ to the Israeli Arabs who ride the buses with us, swim in the swimming pools and the seas with us, sit in the same movie theaters with us, and eat in the same restaurants.
Jews and Arabs live together in the Land of Israel.
About 1.3 million Arabs are Israeli citizens and have the same full rights as anyone else who has citizenship here in Israel.
Israel has 14 Arab MKs (members of the Knesset). That’s 14 Arab politicians who have been elected to the Israeli Parliament!
Common Goal: These Tel Aviv University students, Arab, Jew and others, are striking together in sympathy with junior staff.
Arab mothers collect their monthly allowance from the Israel national insurance fund for each of their children, just like Jewish mothers do.
It seems to me that the Arab ministers who pastor churches and the Arab judges who preside over courtrooms in Israel should speak out about this false and harmful propaganda of “an apartheid state.”
I have a wonderful relationship with my Arab friend and neighbor, Hassan.
He gives me his usual hearty greeting of “Shalom Hannah” over the fence along with perhaps, a bag of freshly baked bread. Wouldn’t it be a shock for him to hear that Israel is an apartheid state!
Obviously, whoever subscribes to this lie that Israeli is an apartheid state has never lived or even visited here.
Lesson in Safety: The Jerusalem Nature Museum regularly hosts instruction sessions by IDF Emergency Population Instructors of the Jerusalem district who are Jewish. Pictured here is a Jewish IDF soldier instructing 5th grade Arab students of the Arabic-Israeli school “Alachuwa.” The students began with a tour of the museum, followed by a lesson on emergency preparedness and response.
South Africa as an Apartheid State
Perhaps, before any Christians call Israel an apartheid state, they first should take a look at South Africa where the term was coined.
Apartheid existed in South Africa from 1948 – 1994 under an official policy of the National Party governments that treated non-whites as second class citizens.
Under that leadership, people were legislated into four racial classifications: native, white, colored, and Asian.
South Africans were segregated by race and forced to live in certain residential areas.
They had separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities, and the ones for non-whites were inferior.
Non-white political representation was non-existent and they could not vote or hold political office.
NOT ONE of these restrictions is found in Israel, nor have any of these restrictions ever applied to the million plus Arabs living in the Land of Israel.
South African Sign: South African Apartheid segregated people by race and provided inferior services to those who were classed as non-white.
Israel: The Antithesis of Apartheid
As a state, Israel’s policies are the antithesis of apartheid.
Today, approximately 1.321 million Arabs live in Israel out of a total population. Demographically speaking, about 17.2 percent of the total population of Israel is Arab.
That means that one out of every five citizens of Israel is an Arab! And every single one of them has exactly the same rights and privileges as every other Israel citizen: the right to vote, to serve in the Israeli parliament, to own properties and businesses, and to work in professions right alongside Jewish Israelis.
Arabs serve as judges in the Israeli Judicial system. In fact, it was an Arab judge who recently sentenced the former President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, to seven years in jail on charges of rape and sexual harassment.
An Arab judge sentenced an Israeli President to jail and no one even batted an eye! Apartheid? Come on….
How are Blacks treated in Israel?
In a move quite the opposite of Apartheid in South Africa, Israel has airlifted thousands of Blacks from Sudan and Ethiopia in Operation Moses and Operation Solomon, giving them full Israeli citizenship.
In the past three years thousands of African blacks have fled the genocide in their war-torn Muslim countries of Sudan and Eritrea in order to reach Israel (the Promised Land) where they know they will find a safe haven for themselves and their families.
So we ask the question again – Is Israel really an apartheid state?
Road Signs: In Israel, the road signs are in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
The truth is that Jewish and Arabic Israelis live together in an integrated society.
Arab teachers, teach alongside Jewish teachers in Israeli schools. In fact, 40 percent of employed Muslim women in Israel work in education.
Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses work side by side helping the sick in Israeli hospitals.
In Israel, all road signs are written in Hebrew, Arabic, and the international language English.
In every shopping mall, in fact, every place of business in Israel – Jews and Arabs carry out their daily lives together.
Mira Awad: Arab Israeli singer, actress, and songwriter
Arabs are not Second Class Citizens
Arabs are not ‘second class citizens’ in Israel. They are equals and have the opportunity to advance in Israel society.
Here are just a few of the high-profile Arabs in Israeli society:
Walid Badir: Israeli Arab soccer star, captain of the Hapoel team, Tel Aviv
Salim Joubran: Israeli Arab judge on the Israeli Supreme Court (permanent appointment)
Mira Awad: Israeli Arab actress, singer, songwriter, who represented Israel at the 2009 Eurovision Song contest
Rana Raslan: Israeli Arab who was ‘Miss Israel’
Majalli Wahabi: Israeli Druze politician who has served in the following political roles: Deputy Speaker of Israel Knesset; Member of the Knesset (parliament) for Kadima; Acting President of Israel February 2007; Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Reda Mansour: Israeli Druze poet, historian and Diplomat (Israeli Ambassador to Ecuador)
Walid Badeer: Israeli Arab soccer star, captain of Israel’s Hapoel team, Tel Aviv
Greater Civil Liberties
As Bible Believers, we know who is ultimately behind these false accusations about Israel.
The adversary, (hasatan in Hebrew), is called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).
As the father of lies with no truth in him, lies are his native language (John 8:44).
In these last days, more than ever, we must stay informed and walk in the Truth and the Light so as not to fall under the lies and misinformation spread by the kingdom of darkness.
This degree of satisfaction among Muslim adults chart (end of 2010) from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website reveals that Muslim adults in Israel experience much satisfaction with their lives as seen by adding up the yellow and green bars as a percentage. 87% of Israeli Arabs are satisfied with life, and 60% are satisfied with the economic situation. Jews have the same statistical viewpoints as the economy is poor in Israel, with high inflation.
The truth is that Israel is not an apartheid state. Arabs in Israel are freer and enjoy greater civil rights and liberties than Arabs in any Arab country in the world! This is because Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East.
According to Dennis Prager, who is a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, a full 82% of Israeli Arabs would rather live in Israel than in any other country!
Many Arabs do not resent the presence of Jewish soldiers in the areas where they live; some even say they are glad when Israeli soldiers and tanks enter their towns or villages.
“We are so happy when the Israelis come. We know the soldiers will protect us from Hamas,” said Sahar, an Arab Israeli who is Christian.
An Arab and Jewish fisherman working side by side near Tel Aviv.
What about the Wall?
Well, some may say, this may be well and good for Arabs that live within Israel and hold Israeli citizenship, but what about Arabs living in the so-called ‘Occupied Territories’? Aren’t they treated differently?
Of course they are treated differently! They are not citizens of Israel. They are citizens of the government of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, and Israel has no authority or control over them until they attempt to enter Israel.
At entry checkpoints, Israel must weed out potential terrorists seeking to enter the country, which regrettably necessitates line ups and delays.
What about the security fence that has been built between Israel and these Palestinian Arab territories? Doesn’t this constitute apartheid? We could ask this same question about the security fence that is built between the United States and Mexico. Is this an indication of apartheid in the U.S.?
Israel constructed the security fence to keep terrorists from entering Israel and murdering its citizens. And it worked!
Construction on the security wall commenced in 2002 at which time 220 Israeli men, women and children had been killed in suicide bombings. This number went down to 142 in 2003 and continued to decline to almost zero today.
Security wall: Since its construction, the numbers of deaths due to suicide bombings has drastically declined in Israel.
The Real Apartheid in the Middle East
So if Israel isn’t an apartheid state, is there racism and apartheid in the Middle East?
The Palestinian Authority announced that ‘Any Arab who sells land to a Jew should be executed.’ That’s racism.
Mahmoud Abbas, in speaking to the Egyptian Media on July 28, 2010 said, “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian Land.” That’s apartheid.
A Good Sign: A few days after a suicide terrorist bombing in a crowded Haifa restaurant, which was owned by Arab and Jewish partners, this sign made by children was placed beside the Israeli flags. The sign says, “We will not give up co-existence.”
Making a Difference
We are not saying that Israel is a perfect country run by a perfect government. However it is the only real democracy in the Middle East, and both Jews and Arab Israelis want peace.
Just like any country, Israel has to tackle racism, poverty and prejudice.
But Israel as a Jewish state has a right to exist, and her citizens have a right to safety.
As Believers the most important thing we can do is share the love of Yeshua with both Jews and Arabs here in the Holy Land.
Nothing is more important than having both Jews and Arabs understand the Messianic Prophecies and what the Lord has done for them through Yeshua, our Salvation.
The Empty Grave: Yeshua is Alive!