Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Article excerpt

Israeli Hackers Lead the World

The July 10 Ha'aretz reported that "during the first half of 2002, Israel ranked first in the world in the number of hackers relative to its number of Web users," ahead of Hong Kong and France. According to a study conducted by the US. security firm Riptech, 33 out of every 10,000 Israeli Web users are hackers. The article also noted that "only 1 percent of hacker attacks during the first half of 2002 were generated in the seven countries identified by the Pentagon as those which support terror (Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Libya)."

Ethiopian Jews Face Discrimination

Israel's Ethiopian Jews are becoming increasingly discontented with their lot in life-impoverished neighborhoods, rising unemployment, and a high school drop-out rate of 26 percent-the worst of any Jewish group in Israel. According to Asher Elias, a staff member at the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, "in jobs, in education, people feel discriminated against because they are black." The May 22 Christian Science Monitor recalled an incident in 1996, when it was learned that Israeli hospitals had thrown out all blood donated by Ethiopians. "What do they think?" Elias asked. "That we are not humans?"

Israeli Students Suffer Abuse at School

According to the July 15 Ha'aretz, "the majority of Israeli high school students, Arab and Jewish, are victims of physical and verbal violence at school." A survey conducted by Hebrew University Professor Rami Benbenishty found that 5.6 percent of Israeli high school students had been threatened by a fellow student with a knife "at least once in the last month." Around 2 percent of both high school and middle school students had been threatened with a gun at school, while around 15 percent of elementary schoolers have been severely beaten by other kids.

Racist Legislation Abounds in Israel

As the international community criticized a piece of legislation proposed in Israel's parliament under which certain land would be sold only to Jews, a few other equally racist proposals floated by unnoticed.

The June 16 Arab News reported that Israel has clamped down on Palestinians from the occupied territories who marry Israeli Arabs. Both pending and existing marriages are threatened by the move, fueled by fears of losing the demographic advantage due to increased immigration. A non-Jewish majority in Israel, the article noted, means "the state's Jewish orientation could be rejected in the future."

Perhaps to further ensure that orientation, Israel's parliament allowed the proposal of a piece of legislation that would require all Israeli citizens-Jews and Gentiles-"to state their allegiance to Israel as a Jewish State, the Israeli flag, and the Israeli national anthem," the Arab American Institute reported July 19. The legislation's author, MK Michael Kleiner, rejected criticism that the law was racist.

On that note, the July 24 Ha'aretz reported that the Israeli Knesset voted to accept a law preventing Palestinian victims of the first intifada from receiving compensation for loss of life and property. So far 6,500 damage claims have been filed, threatening Israel with billions of shekels in compensation costs.

Rather than pay, parliament has retroactively broadened the definition of "war activity" in order to render these claims invalid. Another stunner from, to quote opposition Meretz Party leader Yossi Sarid, "the most racist in the family of democratic nations."

Israel Launches Arabic TV

Israel has launched an Arabic-language TV channel targeting millions of Arabs who, Israeli officials fear, have been taught to hate Israel by Arab television. …

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