Sikkuy-Aufoq - For a Shared and Equal Society (R.A)

Sikkuy-Aufoq’s position on the plans and processes promoted by the new government 

Under the populist slogan “restoring governance” the new government has launched a dangerous attack against all the mechanisms able to curb, balance and criticize the use and abuse of power by the political level in the government.

In the current reality, democratic mechanisms in Israel are already limited and not sufficiently grounded in law, and in practice the present legislation and government institutions instill and maintain discrimination in all areas of life between Jews and Arabs. Still, there are structures that make it possible to struggle for equality and a shared society and offer the possibility of creating a full democracy. But the new government has launched a broad assault to weaken and trample all of these structures and to severely undermine citizens’ ability to promote a just, equitable, and shared society.

This attack includes legislative processes, some of which are being swiftly and aggressively pursued while others are still in the planning stage.  All are designed to strip the following structures and functions of their powers and bring them under the prime minister and ministers’ control: The judiciary, the civil service, the free press, organized labor, and civil society organizations. In addition, the government has already initiated processes for legislation and policy-shaping designed to fully politicize the police, which is tasked with protecting all citizens, and further politicize the education system; the same education system that is supposed to teach critical thinking, ways for understanding personal and collective identity, and the need for solidarity among different groups.

We view these actions as an existential threat to the rights of all citizens, especially minority and marginalized groups, and particularly Arab society as a national minority. We believe that trampling the structures and functions that enable the struggle for equality and partnership to go forward will streamline the government’s ability to crush the rights of minorities, exacerbate discrimination, increase oppression, and expand segregation, alienation, and hostility between Jews and Arabs. This is neither speculative nor theoretical; it is based on an in-depth analysis of the government’s plans, which include processes designed to step up the oppression of Arab citizens’ collective and national identity and slow – and possibly halt – plans to close socio-economic gaps between Arabs and Jews.The government’s plans include actions that will create new areas of discrimination and will encourage the application of oppressive measures and institutionalized violence using the police and security forces against all of Arab society.

For example, eliminating the standard of reasonableness is expected to harm Arab citizens and local authorities’ ability to petition the courts against the expropriation of land they own and use. Even in the current state of affairs, expropriation is used aggressively against Arab society. In addition, fully politicizing the police and subjecting it to the minister of national security will enable an escalation in police violence, violence which is already directed primarily at Arab citizens and demonstrators, by revoking various police restrictions that were implemented as a result of the events of October 2000. Furthermore, weakening the Supreme Court will significantly harm the representation of Arab society in government institutions. It will allow the disqualification of Arab candidates running for parliament, as the Court is currently the last barrier to this practice. In addition, politicizing the education system transfers control over educational programs for social values from the professional ranks to politicians, who may substantially harm programs that provide Arab and Jewish educators and students with tools for a shared society. Finally, processes the government is planning in order to expand the occupation and promote the de facto annexation of the occupied territory threaten to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a dangerous boiling point..

Based on this analysis, we believe that the regime overhaul the government is promoting precludes the possibility of a functioning democracy, severely infringes on the rights of  Arab citizens and of all other minority groups, and creates a real and tangible danger for the fragile and complex relationship between Jewish and Arab citizens, and between the Arab citizens and state institutions. 

Therefore we at Sikkuy-Aufoq object to all government plans designed to weaken institutions that criticize and balance the government’s work and politicize public mechanisms. Not only do we call to halt these plans, but we also call to make profound changes to all government mechanisms to make possible full democracy, equality, partnership, and peace in Israel. We will work with our partners to defend plans that reduce gaps and counter discrimination, and challenge actions that exacerbate discrimination, segregation, racism, and violence. We will also continue to initiate and promote long-term plans that build the foundation for an equitable, shared, and just society.


Silence is Golden