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!