Sunday, February 01, 2004

I’m still reading the full report of recommendations of the Orr Commission that investigated the riots of Israeli Arabs in October 2000. I’m up to the part describing the social and economic background that is seen by the commission as one of the causes of the riots. It’s a pity I don’t have it in English, because I’m sure Jonathan and Diane would find it interesting. There is a very detailed and interesting rundown of the inequality of Israeli Arabs, but nothing about mixed marriages so far, Diane, although there is a passage about inequality in allocation of funds by the Ministry for Religious Affairs, that (until very, very recently) was responsible for marriages (don’t shoot, I’m only the messenger). Since I hear this ministry is currently being liquidated, and was widely regarded as mainly a funnel through which various religious politicians allocated handouts to non-productive ultra-religious groups affiliated to them, anyway, I rather see it as a good thing that there was inequality here. The Arabs can be proud of not taking part in that particular corrupt undertaking. I think that if anyone checked, they’d probably find that secular Jews were also discriminated against by this ministry. Good riddance to it.

But inequality there was and is. Some of it is unjustifiable; some is understandable, but still hard to accept. Reading about it is making me think more about the Turkish-Greek solution. Maybe in the long run there will be no solution besides separation of both peoples, a large segment of Israeli Arabs included. This could be made possible by swapping large Jewish settlement concentrations on the border between the Territories and pre-’67 Israel, with large Israeli Arab town concentrations (Taybeh, Tira, Umm el-Fahm, etc.) also near the Green Line. I don’t see how anything else can work. The problem, of course, is that Israeli Arabs don’t want to be part of the Palestinian entity, and who can blame them? They may have it bad compared to the Jews in Israel, but they still have it infinitely better than Arabs in any Arab countries, not to mention the PA. One can only dream that one day a decent Palestinian leadership will miraculously appear and lead its people to prosperity and happiness, and Israeli Arabs will actually want to be a part of that. Hopefully, this will come to pass before pigs learn to fly. Neither Arabs nor Jews eat pigs so maybe we have a chance.

Update: Jonathan has posted some very interesting thoughts about affirmative action in Israel.