May 12, 2016: Understanding the Middle East: Does Israel Persecute Arabs?


By Carol Rushton

Pro-Arab, pro-Muslim, and pro-“Palestinian” groups have charged for years that Israel persecutes its Arab population, that Arabs in Israel lack the same opportunities that Israeli Jews do, and that Arabs have less rights in Israel than Jews.


Arabs who have Israeli citizenship have the same rights as Jews. Arabs can work and start and own businesses. Arabs can vote in elections, form political parties, serve as city mayors, be to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, participate in Knesset governmental committees, and can be appointed to other governmental positions. In the past, Israel had an Arab who served as the country’s ambassador to Finland.

In the past, Israel has been hesitant to accept Arabs into the military for obvious reasons. However, in the last 10-15 years, that has changed. Arabs, particularly Christian Arabs, are joining the IDF and rising to high positions. Arabs also serve in local police forces of Israeli cities, some becoming police chiefs.

Arabs are also allowed to establish and run their own schools and universities. They are allowed to attend Israeli universities such as the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. Arabs also are allowed to have their own universities, such as Birzeit University.

In Israel, Arab and Christian sites are equally protected under the law. Israeli citizens, visitors, and tourists from all over the world can enter any Christian or Arab holy site without persecution.

The Druze and Bedouin communities are included as Arabs. The Druze generally live more in the northern part of Israel in the Golan Heights area, while the Bedouins live in southern Israel. Druze Arabs are often cited for their participation in the military and local police forces.

Arabs in Israel also achieve a higher standard of living than Arabs in Muslim countries in the Middle East. Many Arabs prefer to live in Israel rather than in the areas controlled by the PLO. I knew a Christian Arab who worked at The Jerusalem Post newspaper but lived outside of Bethlehem. He applied and eventually received Israeli citizenship and moved his family to Jerusalem to get away from the deteriorating situation under the PLO.

It is amazing that Arab women living in Israel have full rights of Israeli citizenship including the right to vote, serve in political parties and in the Knesset and the Israeli government, while their counterparts in Arabs countries do not. Most Arab/Muslim countries deny women not only the right to vote but certain Arab countries do not allow women to even drive cars!

Arabs certainly have many more rights than are accorded Jews in Arab/Muslim countries. In most Arab countries, Jews certainly don’t have the right to vote, form political parties, or allowed to serve in government positions. If Jews leave to emigrate to Israel or any other country, they usually have to leave with the clothes on their back; they are not allowed to take any of their possessions or money with them