Is Israel A Racist State?

In a speech at the United Nations, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described Israel as a “paragon of racism.” Similar charges are leveled against the Jewish State in the global media and across college campuses, where Israel is likened to Apartheid South Africa.

What’s the reality? These claims couldn’t be further from the truth. Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy, where all people – regardless of faith, ethnicity, or political ideology – enjoy the same rights and freedoms.

In contrast to every other nation in the region, Arabs in Israel vote for their government. They sit in the Israeli Parliament and on the Supreme Court, and hold significant positions in the arts, culture, academia and the sciences, and serve in the army. And Arabic is an official language of Israel.

The contrast couldn’t be clearer with other Middle Eastern countries like Syria and Lebanon, where Palestinians live as second-class citizens, denied the right to own property, serve in the public sector, or work in professions like law and medicine.

The truth is that there is sometimes discrimination between people in Israel – just like in the United States and every other country. Yet, this is not imposed by the government, which ensures that all of Israel’s Jewish, Muslim, and Christian citizens enjoy the same democratic and human rights.

Arabs have access to their own religious courts and Arabic-language schools funded by the Israeli government, just as Israel’s Jewish citizens have their own religious courts and state-funded Hebrew-language schools.

Moreover, Palestinians would be living in their own independent state in the West Bank and Gaza if their leadership had not walked away from numerous peace proposals. As long as the Palestinians refuse to make peace, Israel has no choice but to maintain security control over these areas, while it allows the vast majority of Arabs in the West Bank to live under the day-to-day jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

The truth is plain and simple: in a region plagued by hate, tyranny, and prejudice, Israel is the only country that protects the individual freedoms and human rights that we as Americans hold dear. 

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For more than thirty years, Susan Michael has pioneered the development of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in the United States and around the world. She currently serves as the ministry’s USA Director and is a member of the ICEJ’s international Board of Directors.