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.