The Tel Aviv Labor Court has issued a temporary order preventing Israel Railways from firing 40 Arab employees. Last month the government-owned company issued a contract for guards to supervise safety at intersections between railways and highways, stipulating that only those who have served in the Israeli military could qualify for the job.
At the same time, Israel Railways dismissed 40 Arab employees who work for the company as crossing guards. A wave of protests followed, pointing out that as the Israeli government exempts Arabs from military service, Israel Railways’ policy was discriminatory.
An Israel Railways guard supervises safety at a level crossing.
NIF grantees leading the protests include: Laborer’s Voice (Sut El-Amel), which launched an online petition against the layoffs; Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which wrote to the CEO of Israel Railways protesting the discriminatory policy; and Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which protested to the Ministry of Transport and expressed the fear that an additional 130 Arab employees of Israel Railways are in danger of losing their jobs.
The Tel Aviv Labor Court has twice ordered that the dismissals be put on hold while the case is being considered by the court. At the most recent hearing on Sunday, hundreds protested against the firings outside the court including Jewish and Arab employees of Israel Railways, youth movements and concerned citizens.