Racism to Include Settlers?

MK Michael Ben-Ari wants “settlers" and hareidim protected under laws against racism, which currently only cover ethnic but not religious groups.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 13:14

Yaakov Ne'eman
Yaakov Ne'eman
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Cabinet-level Ministerial Law Committee will discuss a new bill that would amend the anti-racism law to include Jews in Judea and Samaria and hareidi religious Jews under laws against racism, which currently only covers ethnic but not religious groups.

The change was proposed by National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari following a long string of hateful remarks reported in the media against Jews who are hareidi religious or who live in Judea and Samaria. The hareidi Jews have been particularly vilified of late due to stipends they receive that some university student groups have been demonstrating against, while the Jews in Judea and Samaria are once again being accused of harming Arab agriculture and preventing peace.

The law allows for indictments against any one who makes racist remarks against ethnic groups or against people in a particular neighborhood or city.

The bill has won widespread support from Knesset Members in several parties, including Likud MK Yisrael Katz and Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson, as well as members of the Shas and United Torah Judaism hareidi parties and MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad, Ben-Ari’s colleague in the National Union party.

MK Ben-Ari said his suggested change in the law would help prevent damaging the fabric of Israeli society.

The government prosecutor is expected to object to the bill on the grounds of “freedom of expression” despite indictments that are filed for anti-Arab remarks. Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, who also is chairman of the ministerial committee discussing the bill, has not stated his position on the proposed change in the law.

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