Israeli scholars interviewed in foreign media:
Taken from an anti-Israel Turkish website:
(Oren Yiftachel, Geography, Ben Gurion U)
Americans must have their heads in the sand to continue to believe that "Israel is a bastion of democracy". Israeli political geographer Oren Yiftachel makes it clear that Israel is an ethnocracy that serves one ethnic group well and the other badly.
"An ethnocracy," he explains, is a regime promoting “the expansion of the dominant group in contested territory ... while maintaining a democratic façade." Yet Americans, with only a little knowledge of the facts, still refer to Israel as "the only democracy in the Middle East".
Israeli scholars agree, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Oren Yiftachel, in a 1999 paper titled "Ethnocracy: the Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine," saying Israel is an ethnocratic regime "enhanc(ing) a rule by, and for, a specific ethnos, and a dominance of ethnicity over citizenship (by) facilitat(ing) the expansion of one ethnic group over contested territory or polity." It evolved around "the central Zionist (uni-ethnic) project of Judaizing and de-Arabising Israel/Palestine, (and as a consequence undermining) equal citizenship and popular sovereignty," reserving it solely for Jews, exposing the myth of a democratic nation.
(Daniel Bar-Tal, Education, Tel Aviv University)
Posted on a Palestinian website
There is a growing chasm “between the slogans like, ’Israel is a great democracy,’ and ‘the army is the most moral in the world’—and the reality,” says Professor Daniel Bar-Tal who conducted the poll. Israelis, he says, “do not look in the mirror” and do not wish to be reminded by NGOs about their image. The result, he says, is that “the foundations” of democracy in the country are under siege.
(Ilan Saban, Law, Haifa University)
Posted on Palestinian News Agency
Ilan Saban, a law professor at Haifa University, commented on the issue, saying “[u]unlike most - if not all - other democracies, Israel lacks a political culture that respects limits on the power of the majority.”
Even the protections offered by Israel’s basic laws, he said, were not deeply entrenched and could easily be re-legislated. The lack of both a formal constitution and a tradition of political tolerance, he added, was “a dangerous cocktail.”
...However, Saban said the “activism” the court has been accused of was more illusory than real, and that it was often reluctant to intervene in cases where violations of rights were clearcut. In the National Priority Areas case, he said, lawyers had been challenging the patently discriminatory scheme since its introduction in 1998.
“The court took nearly 10 years to rule against the scheme, and since then the government has evaded implementing the decision until at least 2012. In other words, the petitioners are likely to be without a remedy for 14 years. That hardly qualifies as activism.”
(Yousef Jabareen, Law, U of haifa and Tel Aviv U)
Posted on Al Jazeera
Yousef Jabareen, the director of Dirasat, the Arab Centre for Law and Policy, explains that public services are also funded on the national level. This is another point of inequality.
Jabareen points to the "National Priority" programme that gave economic incentives to government-selected areas. When the programme was introduced in 1998, 500 Jewish towns received national priority status. While Palestinians make up nearly 20 per cent of Israel's population, and half of the nation's poor, only four Arab villages were selected.
"That was a classic example of how the allocation of government resources is discriminatory," Jabareen says, adding that grave inequalities can be found in the state-funded educational system as well.
Everything - from the poor conditions of the infrastructure to the lack of public services - adds up to leave Palestinians feeling rejected and disconnected, Jabareen says.
"It's a feeling of frustration and of not belonging .... That the government and state is excluding you and you are not counted as an equal."
Do the disparities in Jerusalem's neighbourhoods and the differences in funding throughout the nation amount to apartheid?
"In some areas you could identify some characteristics of apartheid that should raise a lot of concern about the future," Jabareen comments.