Israeli FM Pushes Bill to Bar Arabs, Ultra Orthodox Jews From Parliament

MP Matalon Says Conscription 'Part of the Israeli Ethos'

The latest in a long line of efforts at barring the nation’s Arab minority from public office came out of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party today, with a new bill that would bar anyone who wasn’t conscripted by the military from being in parliament.

MP Moshe Matalon, from Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, defended the move, terming conscription “part of the Israeli ethos,” adding that those who were not conscripted should not be in parliament because they are “supposed to be role models.”

In practice, this would oust the entire Israeli Arab community from parliament, as they are neither conscripted nor in large measure even allowed to serve in the military. It would also bar members of Israel’s Ultra Orthodox Jewish community from parliament, since they are likewise immune from conscription.

There are currently 13 Israeli Arabs in parliament in addition to dozens of MPs from Ultra Orthodox factions, many of them in the ruling coalition. Needless to say this will make the law extremely difficult to pass.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.