Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why is There Discrimination Against Arabs in Israel?

There is.

But why?

From this article

The aim of this paper is to draw attention to the complexity of the economic reality and to caution against a simple deduction that the Arabs’ poor socio-economic status is merely the result of discrimination.  This is not to say that the Arab minority in Israel is not being discriminated against. They are; and discrimination should be fought against and eliminated.  Moreover, the Arab minority in Israel should be guaranteed their equal rights and receive their fair share in central government allocations.  However, when discussing economic inequality we should be aware that there are other important factors causing income disparities across ethnic groups in Israel.
Some of these factors, such as the number of children per family and women’s participation rate in the labor market, are matters of choice.  Clarifying these factors and their correlation with poverty is important not only because it weakens the claim regarding the extent of discrimination, but also because it has important policy implications.  It suggests that eliminating discrimination will not be sufficient to transform the Arabs’ economic status.  Clearly, the Israeli society must eliminate all forms of covert discrimination.  But, the socio-economic status of the Arabs in Israel will not be significantly improved unless they adjust some of the preferences that currently disadvantage them economically.  income disparities seem to follow ethnic groups in most of the countries in the world.  Historical and cultural reasons are currently more plausible explanations of this
worldwide phenomenon than is discrimination...
...As mentioned above, a narrow perspective can also support the argument made in this Article.  When looking at the different groups within the Arab population in Israel we find that Christian Arabs are significantly better off in terms of education and economic well-being than Moslem Arabs. There is no reason to assume that Israeli Jews discriminate against Christian Arabs to a lesser extent than they discriminate against the other Arab groups:  first, because individual Jews do not distinguish between Christian and Moslem Arabs, and, second, because the main argument about Arab discrimination is that the Israeli government discriminates against Arabs because Israel is the Jewish state.  Differences in preferences between Christian and Moslem Arabs can explain the differences in economic well-being between the two populations.  Christian Arabs have on average a much lower number of children per family; they make much greater investments in education; a larger percentage of them live in the big cities; and they have higher rates of women participating in the labor market. If differences in preferences seem to plausibly explain the economic differences between Christian and Moslem Arabs in Israel (since discrimination is not plausible in this context), might those same differences explain at least some of the socio-economic gap between the Jews and Arabs in Israel in general?...

For our "liberal Zionists".

1 comment:

Shelly said...

While I do not think we are totally lacking in discrimination against the Arabs, I do think that the different treatment that they receive is for the most part not due to discrimination but rather to our need to protect the welfare and security of the public, and our concern regarding them as security risks (and the fact that they do not, for the most part do any service to the state - and many financial and employment issues are linked to army or national service)based on their own actions and stated intentions towards us.