/israel_navy_boat.jpgIsraen News Photo: (IDF)

Haifa Magistrate Court Judge Shimon Scher ruled that the Arab owners of the ‘Azad’ restaurant must compensate IDF naval serviceman Raviv Roth with the sum of 15,000 NIS, in addition to 2,000 NIS in legal fees, after refusing to serve him or even allow him into the restaurant while he was wearing his uniform.

Roth approached the ‘Azad’ restaurant on Masada street in Haifa, and was told by the shift supervisor that serving anyone in a uniform is against the policy of the restaurant.

The Judge pointed out that the refusal was polite, and did not lead to a disturbance of the peace. However, he added, the question that arose was whether Israel's anti-discrimination laws included discrimination against uniformed servicemen. The question, said Judge Scher, remained unresolved in all the courts, but he is of the opinion that the law should not exclude this kind of discrimination.

There was no sign at the entrance to the premises indicating a dress code or the refusal to accomodate servicemen in uniform, nor was any public announcement made to this effect.

The feeling of the judge was that the discrimination was not personal, but rather against the concept of accepting any soldier wearing a uniform representing the IDF on the premises.

The Judge was of the opinion that “it is important to demonstrate to all religions and denominations that such discriminations are reprehensible, as they do not promote tolerance and equality. Equality is the solution that should be desirable to both sides.”

The 'Azad' restaurant has been closed down for other reasons. The establishment was fined 5,000 NIS in February for a similar offense involving reservist soldier Kobi Dana.