Racism on the Train

Posted: March 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: racism | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Ynet and Haaretz have a follow-up on the Arab look-outs story I wrote about two weeks ago. It seems that the media pressure didn’t help, and the National Train Company (“Rakevet Israel”) forced the contractor to fire most of the Arab look-outs, and replace them with army veterans.

As I explained in the comments to the post, saying “army veterans” in Israel’s work market equals in essence to saying “Jews”. That’s why in such cases the courts usually rule that you have to prove a connection between the army service to the issue at hand in order not to be charged with racial discrimination. For example, you can’t say: “I only let army veterans drive this bus”. But you can say: “I only hire army veterans to be the security men on this bus”. The Train Company – which is owned by the state, for god’s sake! – never even tried to make such claim.

Israel’s equal opportunity law states the following:

“2.(a) Employers shall not discriminate between their employees or between candidates for employment because of their sexual orientation, because they are parents, because of their age, race, religion, nationality, land of origin, opinion or party, in any of the following: (1) hiring; (2) working conditions; (3) promotion; (4) professional training or studies; (5) discharge or severance pay; (6) benefits and payments provided for employees in connection with their retirement from employment.

This goes for outside contractors as well, so this issue will most likely get to court, and the Train company will probably lose. But it is clear that the company couldn’t have even considered this step if it hadn’t been for the anti-Arab atmosphere in Israel.

Take the bus!

6 Comments on “Racism on the Train”

  1. 1 Tamar said at 11:28 pm on March 30th, 2009:

    More local boycotting of racist, rude, and otherwise commercially foolish policies and behaviors might not bring perfect happiness to all though perpetrators eventually do reconsider their decisions and actions considering the dire consequences to their pocketbooks.

  2. 2 Shaul Hanuka said at 3:56 am on March 31st, 2009:

    I believe that there might be more leverage in pressing the French and German companies that has contracts with Israel Railways in construction jobs than a consumers boycott. Don’t forget that the bulk of the Israel Railway’s income is from transporting IDF soldiers on Sundays and Thursdays.

  3. 3 noam said at 4:15 am on March 31st, 2009:

    I kind of hesitate to go full speed with international boycott attempts before trying all local options (such as going to court), but it is true that some international publicity might help. Unlike the situation in the WB, most of the world doesn’t understand – or doesn’t care – about the discrimination of the Arab citizens.

  4. 4 noam said at 4:16 am on March 31st, 2009:

    What more annoying is that even if the train company loses in court, the compensations will be paid with taxpayer money. So we lose twice.

  5. 5 Aviv said at 9:08 am on March 31st, 2009:

    Veterans get a grant from the state (ma’anak & pikadon), a discount in income tax, etc.

    Is that a legitimate reward for 2-3 years of service or preferential treatment for Jews?

  6. 6 noam said at 2:44 pm on March 31st, 2009:

    There is no problem with benefits for army veterans. You can give them free university education, for example. But you can’t just fire people to keep these posts for Jews. It is enough that every Jew will have an informal advantage over an Arab in almost any Job in Israel – there is no need to make things worse.