Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Ram Cohen

Superland government

Op-ed: Amusement park's Arab-Jewish segregation policy stems from racist Israeli laws

Israel is a country where there are race laws. Race laws discriminate between Arabs and Jews, everywhere. Arabs are also discriminated against when it comes to the funding of State schools.


The Arab teacher who was surprised when he and his students were denied entry to the Superland amusement park is part of a large group of both Arabs and Jews who are not looking reality straight in the eye and do not see the bitter truth in which we all live; a reality of structural discrimination from the top down.


The violence and hostility originate from the official policy of discrimination and exclusion of Arabs in the country. Superland, like many institutions in Israel, received the messages from Israeli society and implemented them. During the previous Knesset, laws were passed and bills were introduced with the sole purpose of keeping the Arabs out of sight and muzzling them.


For example, the admissions committees law (passed on March 22, 2011), which applies to hundreds of communities in the Negev and the Galilee that were built on "State-owned land," stipulates that "the allocation of land to a person for the purpose of its acquisition as part of a communal settlement, can be done only with the approval of the admissions committee."


רק מיישמים את המסרים. הסופרלנד בראשון לציון   (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Superland amusement park in Rishon Lezion (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


The law is meant to keep Arabs away from Jews. This is also true of the Nakba Law, which prohibits Arabs from expressing their pain and threatens them with economic sanctions. And there are other laws that have the same purpose.


Just like the previous Knesset, the current one is also nationalist. Shortly after the general election results were released, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid declared he would "not be part of an obstructionist bloc with the Hanin Zoabis." Lapid was referring to the Arab MK who took part in the Gaza flotilla that was raided by IDF commandoes in May 2010. Since then, Israel has apologized to Turkey over the deadly operation and is quietly paying the victims' families millions in compensation.


Lapid's twin, Naftali Bennet, stated: "I don't care about Abu Mazen (Abbas); I'm not interested in making him stronger. I care about the people of Israel – the young, the poor, the secular – they matter. Not Abu Mazen, Abu Ali and Abu I don’t know who… who will be negotiating with Tzipi Livni. They're not interesting."


As far as both of these politicians are concerned - as representatives of the new politics and leaders of public opinion – these are the Arabs: Zoabis and Abus. The Arabs are not accepted as legitimate citizens. They cannot be a part of the government and are ostracized.


Therefore, instead of merely expressing our disgust with the policy of the Superland amusement park, we must take to the streets and protest against the Israeli government's racist policy. The main force behind this policy is the Education Ministry, which has been discriminating against Arabs for years.


The new education minister has been presented with the opportunity to bring about a historic change within the education system, in order to build an Israeli society in which all citizens are equal in this Superland we have created with our own hands.


Ram Cohen is the principal at Nathan Alterman "Tichonet" High School in Tel Aviv



פרסום ראשון: 06.02.13, 11:10
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