The charge on Israel of being an apartheid is nothing new and has been a tried and tested narrative of Israel’s naysayers since the very time of its inception. A lot of organizations and so-called rights activist groups around the group compare Israel to the South African apartheid regimes. Is there any truth to this analogy? Or is this empty rhetoric only used to defame Israel, isolate it internationally and force it to make dangerousconcessions to its national security?
Here are a few reasons why Israel is not an apartheid state and comparing it to one is completely baseless:
1. Everyone in Israel has completely equal rights
Unlike the non-whites in South Africa during the apartheid regimes or the minorities in Muslim-majority countries, every single citizen in Israel has equal rights, without any distinction of inferiority. There are no second class citizens in Israel and many Arab minority citizens perform their duties in different Israeli institutions like the police force, judiciary or the Knesset. South Africans belonging to a minority section or black South Africans couldn’t even dream of this during the South African apartheid period.
This incident of an Arab judge, George Karra, sentencing Moshe Kastav, a former Israeli President to jail for a seven-year term is a testament to the fact that Israel’s policies are very inclusive and empower its minorities unlike hundreds of different Muslim, Arab or other nations.
3. Access to world-class educational opportunities
Bantu Education Act of 1953 is a historical record that documents the Apartheid policies, which marked the beginning of black separation from whites in South African education system. It made a separate curriculum for black individuals preparing them for hard manual labor. The concept of such a law in Israel is practically unthinkable since Israel’s Knesset ensures equal opportunities for all of Israel’s citizenry, with hundreds of Arabs and Palestinians serving and studying in Israel’s higher education institutes.
4. Arabs in Israel have access to equal healthcare
Arab, Israeli, Palestinian babies are born in the same hospitals alongside one another, without any discrimination of religion, color or ethnicity. There are many medical organizations in Israel who have received numerous global accolades for ensuring equal treatment of all its citizens without any discrimination even during the unfortunate times of conflict and political instability in the country. There is rarely anything on record that could suggest otherwise, unlike the blatant discrimination the world saw in South Africa.
This is probably one of the most important points that differentiate Israel from the South African Apartheid regimes. Israeli Arabs, despite being a minority, have their own political parties have equal voting rights. Some of these parties have been Israeli government’s harshest critics showing their trust in Israel’s constitution and the protection it gives them to voice their opinions. Colored people in South Africa had to sacrifice their lives in order to get their political views recognized in their own country.