Racism on the Train (part II)

Posted: April 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, racism | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Israel Railway ganeral manager Yitzhak Harel

I’ve been following here the story of the Arab lookouts, who the Israeli train company, Israel Railways, wanted to fire, on the excuse it prefers to keep those jobs open for army veterans, i.e. Jews. I also wrote that to my estimate, by doing so the train company might be in violation of the Israel’s equal opportunity law.

Yesterday, the Tel Aviv Labor Court gave a temporary order against firing the lookouts. Final decision will be given after Passover. Meanwhile, Labor’s Avishay Braverman, the new Minister for Minorities (yes, we have such an office), wrote the Minister of Transportation Israel Katz, demanding his intervention in favor of the lookouts.

The affair is far from over, but it seems that things have taken a positive turn. Given the current public atmosphere in Israel (read, for example, the comments on Ynet to the Labor Court order), it is very important to draw the line against these kind of racist acts whenever possible.

It is important, however, to understand that most discrimination in Israel is not the work of some right wing extremist, but rather the mainstream of the Israeli society. Israel Railways, which didn’t back up from its plan and is even ready to go to court in order to defend its right to fire the Arab lookouts, is run by the government (that means, BTW, that our tax money will be paying those court bills). The head of the train company is Yitzhak Harel (in photo), a former Major General in the IDF, who was appointed to the job by his former commander and current political ally, Shaul Mofaz, the no. 2 man in Kadima. Mofaz, who was at the time the Minister of Transportation, preferred Harel for the Job over some 80 other candidates. At the time, reporters wondered what special gift does Mr. Harel brings to his new job. Well, now we know.

2 Comments on “Racism on the Train (part II)”

  1. 1 canoerib said at 5:10 pm on April 9th, 2009:

    I find it interesting and also worrisome that while on the one hand Israel is finally leaning into understanding how damned important her international (hasbara) image is and how it pertains to survival, she shotguns the knees out from under it by allowing this overtly racist action to take place. Don’t get me wrong–I’m a Zionist and a Half, as my leftist friends like to call me during our roundhouse supper party arguments over all things Israel/apartheid related. But it has never been their arguments, their misinformation (“Israel has eight year olds in prisons!” “Where did you read that?” “ElectronicIntifada”) or their correction information that has ever prevailed against the arguments for Israel’s right to exist and to fight terror. What has finally quieted my pro-Israel extracurricular sideshow is the fact that Israel discriminates against it’s own Arab citizens. This train story is a perfect example of how futile it is to defend Israel’s actions in Gaza (I totally applaud the campaign against Iran, and also scratch my head over how stupid Israel was to not educate the world that it was IRAN they fought there) when the very next week the transportation ministry makes a move that causes every anti-Israel person in the world to say, “See, they are a bunch of apartheid racists!” This train incident reeks of Mississippi 1964. It STINKS! How in hell am I ever going to defend something that ooks like the KKK lynching and runnin’ off “the coloreds”? Come on! Israel has got to be the ultimate paradox of genius tech developers mixed with the most utterly blind fools that ever walked the freaking earth. The hasbara is a catastrophe that could very well bring down the state! There is no way to justify firing employees based on race. If you want a vet preference hiring policy, get with the Americans and use their model, brainiacs. You will learn that it is based on vacancies, and preference, not discrimination.

  2. 2 noam said at 9:10 am on April 10th, 2009:

    Thanks for the comment.

    I don’t think our problem is Hasbara, but rather the policy. You can hire the best PR team in the world, but as you said – if you discriminate your own Arab citizens, it won’t do much good.

    Regarding the Apartheid question – I wouldn’t call Israel an Apartheid state, but I have the bad feeling we are moving in this direction. Here are some more of my thoughs on the matter: