Arab Restaurant Fined for Turning Away Soldier

Haifa court fines Azad restaurant 5,000 shekels for refusing service to Kobi Dana, an IDF soldier in uniform.

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Gil Ronen, | updated: 13:25

The offending restaurant.
The offending restaurant.
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Haifa Magistrates' Court slapped the owners of a restaurant in the port city with a 5,000 shekel fine Wednesday for refusing to give service to reservist soldier Kobi Dana last year. The owners are Arab citizens of Israel. 

A second soldier, First Sergeant Raviv Roth, a Navy man, also filed charges against the restaurant on similar grounds. His case is due to be heard in May.  
Dana and grassroots-Zionist group Im Tirtzu had filed a lawsuit charging Azad with discrimination. "The refusal of entry to the plaintiff was based upon his being a soldier and not on the fact that he was wearing a uniform of some kind, as the defendants claim," they wrote.
"This discrimination is not relevant to the service provided by the restaurant, which consists of serving food. The purpose of the discrimination is to degrade and humiliate the people who serve in the nation's security forces. This is not an isolated incident but a policy, as witnessed by the fact that another soldier was also kicked out of the restaurant."
The restaurant owner replied that the rule against serving soldiers in uniform was intended "so as not to create disturbances for the other diners." The defendants claimed that "following the incident, the plaintiffs created a provocation by organizing demonstrations and inciting against the restaurant. Besides the damage to the restaurant's image, they caused it tangible damage when demonstrators broke its windows. As a result of the provocation, the restaurant was closed down a short time later."
The court accepted the suit and and fined Azad 5,000 shekels, to be paid to the soldier as restitution.