Racism against Israeli Arabs has alarmingly increased in the Israeli society amid a systematic state discrimination which makes the matter worse, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in its annual report cited on December 9, by the Israeli daiy Haaretz . “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” ACRI President Sami Michael said upon the release of the report on civil rights in Israel.
Michael said the towering racism undermines Israel as a real democracy in the Middle East. “We are a society under supervision under a democratic regime whose institutions are being undermined and which confers a different status to residents in the centre of the country and in the periphery.”
The ACRI report found that racist incidents against Israeli Arabs increased in 2006 by 26 per cent. The number of Jews publicly expressing feelings of hatred toward Arabs has also doubled.
According to a June 2007 Democracy Index of the Israel Democracy Institute, also cited in the report, only half the Israeli people believes that Jews and Arabs must have full equal rights, and 78 per cent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government.
According to statistics released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006, Arabs in Israel are estimated at 1,413,500 or 19.8% of the Israeli 6.5 million populace.
The report further said that there is a systematic state discrimination against Israeli Arabs, which added insult to injury. It says that Arab citizens “are subject to ‘racial profiling’ that classifies them as a security threat.” The government also threatens the freedom of expression of Arab journalists by “brandishing the whip of economic boycott and ending the publication of government announcements in newspapers that criticise its policy.”