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High Court orders Galilee community to accept Arab residents
Arab-Israeli couple deemed "socially incompatible" by Galilee community, petitions High Court citing discrimination. Community ordered to set aside land for family's future house

High Court Justice Miriam Naor issued an interim order Wednesday directing the Israel Land Administration and the Galilee community of Rakefet to reserve a plot of land for Fatna and Ahmed Zubedat – an Arab-Israeli couple.

 

The Zubedat's applied to be accepted as community members in Rakefet, part of the northern Misgav Regional Council, but were rejected on grounds of "social incompatibly".

 

As part of the screening process in Rakefet the couple – like all applicants – underwent a psychoanalytical test and interviewed with the community's admissions board.

 

In their petition the couple claimed that although the test results indicated they were both highly intelligent and generally suited to the community's character, their candidacy was rejected because Fatna was found to be "too much of an individualist" and Ahmed "lacked personal sophistication".

 

The couple, with the help of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit and the Jerusalem Open House, petitioned the High Court to overturn the admission board's decision on the ground that it was discriminatory.

 

"An Israeli citizen's right to build his home on public land cannot be restricted… this is a clear case of discrimination due to social standing, ethnic affiliation and skin color," said the petition.

 

The High Court's directive ordering Rakefet to set aside land for the Zubedat's relied on the legal precedent set in 2000 by a five-judge panel, headed by Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, stating that the very nature of Israel as a Jewish State depended on authorities upholding the equal opportunities act and that therefore any residential discrimination against non-Jews is illegal.

 

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