Interior Ministry Agrees to End Discrimination in Service Provision to Negev Arabs

25 March 2009 By New Israel Fund

Israel’s Interior Ministry will provide Arab citizens with the same services as Jewish citizens following a petition to the High Court of Justice by flagship NIF grantee Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

In November 2008, ACRI petitioned the High Court of Justice against the existence of separate and discriminatory services for Israeli Arabs, mainly the Negev Bedouin, living in southern Israel. Arabs seeking services related to ID cards and passports were directed to the minorities department in a hot and overcrowded bomb shelter. Jewish applicants use a large air-conditioned hall in the Be’er Sheva office and are also entitled to conduct their business in smaller offices in other southern Israeli cities.

Following ACRI’s petition, the Ministry of Interior agreed to scrap the system of separate services for Jews and Arabs in southern Israel. Although ACRI’s petition focused on Interior Ministry services in southern Israel, the Ministry has also agreed to end similar systems of separate services in other parts of the country.