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Review of the Arab Press in Israel

Review of the Arab Press in Israel

No. 19 / Tuesday 13 - Monday 19, February 2001

Arab Association for Human Rights website:

address: PO Box 215 - 16101 Nazareth – Israel phone: 04-6561923

Preventing Arab workers from using their mother tongue
Long reports and testimonies were published during this week documenting the discrimination against Arab workers in a restaurant company called "Yehuda Afazi". The company has restaurants in Haifa, Hertzelia, Holon, Tel-Aviv, Kfar Saba and Natanya.
"The Voice of worker Association" in Nazareth had published a full coverage of testimonies of Arab workers in this restaurant after "Black October" clashes.
Fasl Al-Maqal published the first part of the Association's report about the Arab workers' suffering. The workers claim that the request of "not speaking Arabic during work came up after the Black October clashes, when they became a target (see Weekly Press Review-No.6).
Ibrahim Mahajna from Umm Al-Fahm town says in his testimony: "After I was injured by Jewish mobs in Tel-Aviv and after calming the situation, I tried to come back to work, but the boss refused saying that he does not want any Arab workers in Tel Aviv and do not w ant to hear the Arabic Language".
Mahajna said as well that their Arabic names were switched to Hebrew names in order not to be recognized as Arabs by the restaurant customers, for example: worker with family name such as Jabarin was switched to "Gabi" and this was a condition in order to not be fired".
Assad Ailie, another worker from Umm Al-Fahm reported "he was working in this company for about 4 years. After the October clashes new instructions were given due to work's conditions. The most important and insulting one refers to preventing us speaking Arabic between us or with Arab costumers."
A serious discussion developed between the worker and his boss as Ailie says: "I refused speaking in Hebrew with my friends and declared that we are Arabs, we will remain Arabs and we will die as Arabs. The next day I was fired". (Ayyam Al-Arab, Friday 16).
Al-Sinnara (Friday 16) resembles the Arab workers' situation in this company to the Apartheid government.
Faruq Mahajna from Umm Al-Fahm was a witness to this discrimination.
Farug attended the restaurant as a costumer. The waiter was Arabic from Umm Al-Fahm, which he recognized. "We start speaking in Arabic when the shift responsible came to the waiter and ask him to speak in Hebrew."
The managing-director of the company, Mr. Tsfvika Wolf refuses all those testimonies claiming that "they never prevented their Arab workers from speaking their mother tongue, but they just asked them to speak with low tone". This reaction was received in "The Voice of worker Association" in February 11.
Moreover two Arabic partners in this company, Jamel Mahajna and Adnan Mahajna, called Al-Sinnara and Sawt Al-Haqq Wal-Hurriya reacting to the workers: "We have 220 Arabic workers which is about 80% of our workers in the company. We love and respect them. We do prevent screaming and shouting but we never prevent them speaking in Arabic."
"Switching Arabic names to Hebrew names is a slander." Jamel claims. The District Court permits Arabic Advertisings
The District Court in Haifa permits the Arab students in the "West Galilee College" to advertise in Arabic.
"The College prevented the Arab students from publishing in Arabic unless translating the whole text to Hebrew". Sawt Al-Haqq Wal-Hurriya (Friday 16.)
The students appeal to "The Association for the Right of the Citizen".
Mr. Yosseff Jabarin, the Advocate of this association appealed to the District Court on 1999. (Al-Sinnara, February 13).
Judge Yitzhak Shveli in his decision on Monday to permit Arabic advertising with a translation of the title only, wrote in his decision: "the right of speaking and expression must be taken as a primary right of human being; moreover, publishing an advertising in Arabic or using the Arabic language can not be used as an excuse or allegation to prevent the use of Arabic Language". (Al-Ittihad, February 13). The Lack in Arab Special Education System
In our "Weekly Press Review", No.11 we referred to the lacking in the system.
We referred as well to Advocate Awni Banna's petition to the Ministry of Education on behalf of the Association for the Right of the Citizen.
Al-Sinnara and Al-Ittihad in there Tuesday editions reported about the Supreme Court decision by Judge Yakov Terkel to transform the petition to a form of three judges in the couple of weeks.
Al-Ittihad Friday's edition published a full coverage of the topic. Banna expressed his bitterness: "in spite the fact that 5 months passed since our petition to the Ministry of Education, and in spite the recommendation of opening new classrooms, nothing has been done yet".
The article review the system needs, which is missing in the Arab Education system such as:
1. Specialist teachers.
2. Special schools with special needs
3. Lack of special therapy. Autopsy files on Martyrs of "Black October" Clashes
Another petition by "Adalah" - Legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel- and "The Physician Association for Human Rights" reflected the Arabic press in this week.
Sawt Al-Haqq Wal-Hurriya, Al-Ittihad, Al-Sinnara, and Kull Al-Arab (Friday 16),
exclaimed that families of Mohammad Jabarin (Umm Al-Fahm), Ahmad Jabarin (Umm Al-Fahm), Rami Gharra (Jatt), and Mesleh Abu-Jarad (Der El-Balah),appealed to the Supreme Court in order to get the autopsy files from "Abu-Kabir" -the Criminal Forensic Institute-, which were privileged by the police.
Hassan Jabarin, a lawyer from Adalah stressed Morocco on the importance of this files both to families and to the Investigation Committee. "Refusing to supply families with this files offend their dignity and the Martyrs ‘ dignity as well", Jabarin claimed in his petition. The investigation Committee starts today the testimony hearing. Al-Ittihad, in its Monday edition disapproves of the fact that "the committee did not declare the beginning of its work even to the martyrs' parents".
"This make it even harder to the martyrs' advocators to get ready". Arab reactions to the Azur bus attack.
Many Arab and Hebrew newspapers this week, chose the bus attack as their main topic. However just few Arab columns did react actually to the attack, even if it was mentioned as a topic. Kull Al-Arab's front page presents the two sides of the story: The Azur (a town south to Tel-Aviv) bus attack and a dead teenager from Gaza. The headline: "Victims here and victims here, but no solution without an end of the occupation".
The journalist Kaywan relates this attack to "the murdering of Massoad Aiad, a Palestinian officer who was murdered at the same day in Gaza by IDF's helicopter". Panorama relates to the same topic from the same point of view; the attack, background, and reactions. Sharon, the elected prime minister claims that "terrorist attacks do not separate between Tel-Aviv, Holon or Hedera, but its main goal is to strike Israeli wherever they exist". On the other hand and from a different point of view, Ayyam-Al-Arab editorial, Mr. Walid Yassen says, "the bus attack strike our feelings the same as the murder of the Palestinian Officer Massoad Aiad, and of Mohamed Al-Durra whose murdered was photographed last October".
Yassen says as well: "that he can't bare discrimination between Arabic blood and Jewish blood, or tears of a Jewish mother or of an Arabic woman, cause this will brings both sides to more hate, specially if those words were President Moshe Katsav's words. Discriminations in Law Application
Hussin Abu-Hussin in his report in Al-Ittihad Friday edition refers to Israeli law application especially against Israeli Arab Minority and Palestinians.
Abu-Hussin stresses his point of view by giving different examples : "Mr. Mawtner, a researcher and lecturer in Haifa University concluded through his research work that chances of conviction an Arabic citizen by Israeli court are higher than a Jewish citizen; moreover, the punishment of Arabic citizen will be much cruel than of Jewish citizen".
Hussin refers as well to other aspects such as law of Return, social discriminations such as attending public places or flying with Israeli flight company, where you are treated as a bomb that might explode any minute"
(Al-Ittihad- February 16). The Ribat Conference of Refuges Rights
The conference, which was held in Ribat-Morocco between 10-14 February 2001, discussed the Palestinian refuges' issue.
A delegation of Arab organizations participate in this conference.
The conferees explained the importance of keeping the Palestinians inside Israel as a main part of the refuges' problem". (Al-Ittihad - February 16).
Advocate Khalid Zuabi, chairperson of Arab Association for Human Rights comment on the conference saying: "our participation was very important in order to strengthen our relations with Human Rights organizations in the Arab world". A Meeting with an Investigation Committee - The United Nations.
A delegation of different institutions and human rights organizations took a part in this meeting.
The main discussion issues: overuse of force by police, occupation and its effects, property destruction and abusive arrests.
Mohammed Zeidan- director of Arab Association for Human Rights stated in an interview in Al-Ittihad: "the committee work was limited in occupied territories since 1967, but due to the fact and the resemblance of "treatment" of October clashes, we decided to brought this issue to the committee, in order to be discussed". (Al-Ittihad, February 16).

See also IndyMedia, Israel website:


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