Jews and non-Jews in Israel: the apartheid allegation

editor - 20 January 2022

Israel is increasingly accused of being an “apartheid” state. There is only one other country that has been the subject of that allegation – South Africa.

Apartheid and persecution are crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute, for good reason. Countries that are built on racial segregation should be punished.

Yes, Israel is a Jewish State. But that does not make it an apartheid state.

The legal definition of “Apartheid” is unclear (see the Herzberg/Kern article below). But it probably requires at least proof of a deliberate and systematic attack on, or oppression of, another racial group.

Jews are a people, not a race. So discriminaiton between Jews and non-Jews is not about race. That aside, there are many groups in Israel, including: Arab Muslims, Bedouin, Ahmadiyya, Arab Christians, Druze, Syriac Christians (Arameans and Assyrians), Copts, Samaritans, Armenians, Circassians, ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians, and other immigrants from the former Soviet Union, such as Armenians, Georgians, Azeris, Uzbeks, Moldovans, Tatars of Russian or Ukrainian ethnicity; Finns, Baháʼís, Vietnamese, and African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (a religious sect of Black Americans founded in 1960).

Some of these groups may feel marginalized or even discriminated against. Many Arab Israelis certainly do. But that is not unique. Many countries have problems with discrimination. That is not apartheid. Israel does not seek, nor does it have policies, “attacking” or “oppressing” any of these groups.

Israeli citizens – whatever their religion, ethnicity or nationality – have full civil and religious rights. Just look at the fact that an Arab Muslem is a member of the government.

Israel is far more pluralist and democratic than most countries in the region. You will not find Christian or Jewish members of the government in the Islamic Republic or Iran or Saudi Arabia.

The situation in East Jerusalem is complex, in part because of its difficult past (including Jordan’s ethnic cleansing of Jews in 1948-1967), and in part because many in the large Arab population (under pressure of the PLO) choose not to have Israeli citizenship, rather residency. As a result, they do not enjoy all the benefits of citizenship.

In Judea and Samaria (commonly called the “West Bank”), where Israel does not claim full sovereignty, it is true Israelis are treated differently from non-Israelis. The former are subject to Israeli law, the latter not. However, this is far from illegal. Even assuming the law of belligerent occupation applies (this is contested), the law of occupation contemplates separate legal regimes for protected persons and for nationals of an “Occupying Power”. One can criticize the occupation, and argue that Israel should withdraw from all or part of the territories. But that is an entirely different discussion, and is not about apartheid.

The “apartheid” claim is most often brought by those who simply don’t like the idea of a Jewish state. It is at best unjustified, at worst mendacious.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

What is Apartheid? 

Josh Kern and Anne Herzberg explain that “the legal contours of apartheid as a crime against humanity remain underexplored.”
Read more

The Baseless Charge that Israel Is an Apartheid State, Again
Dore Gold (JCPA) writes: “Advocates of the Israel-Apartheid libel hope that their campaign will lead to Israel’s de-legitimization and eventual replacement with a Palestinian/Islamic entity.”
Read more

The Circassians in Israel
Shir Aharon Bram writes: “The Circassians have integrated into Israeli society in many ways. In the past, many continued to serve permanently in the security forces after their compulsory service. Many others work in all sectors of the economy, as researchers and scientists, educators and industrial workers.”
Read more

Whoa! Did Israel Just Call Christians “Jewish By Extension”?
Ryan Jones writes at Israel Today: Non-Arab minorities will no longer be classified as “Other,” but rather be lumped together with Jewish population… This idea of Gentile Christians being “Jewish by extension” goes back to the very beginning, even if much of the Church has today forgotten it.
Read more

The richness of Christianity in the land of Israel
In this episode of Insights: Israel & the Middle East, TBN host Mati Shoshani speaks with Dr. Petra Heldt, of Jerusalem University College and Elias Zarina, Co-Founder of the Jerusalemite Initiative about the return of Christians to the Holy Land. He also speaks with Samer Jeries, Border Police Chief Superintendent and Fr. Boulos Khano, Syriac Priest about daily life in Jerusalem as modern Christians combating the challenges Israeli Christians face today.

Most Christians in the Middle East are ethnic minorities long pre-dating the Islamic/Arab conquest of the region in the 7th century. Christians are being persecuted in most countries of the ME.

Meanwhile, in Israel, where Christians have freedom of worship, the church in Israel is flourishing.

Elias Zarina says: “The fact that many Israeli Christians speak Arabic doesn’t mean we are Arabs. We have our own ethnic identities. Also, we believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and they belong in this land. We want to be part of Israel, and to live in peace with the Jewish people in the land.”
Watch episode

The Vatican’s stolen Judaica treasures 
David Levine writes: “The Vatican has stolen many Jewish objects over the centuries. According to lawyer Michel Calvo, ‘These thefts include Temple candelabra given to Pope Innocent III by Baldwin I after the sacking of Constantinople and the massacre of the Christian Orthodox population; Temple shofars and utensils; garments of the High Priest; the Tzitz (crown); the Nezer (blade); a gold plaque with the words Kodesh le-YHWH (“Dedicated to the Lord”); books of prayer; documents; writings; sacred objects; cultural objects; and many other objets d’art, books and manuscripts that the Vatican and other churches have appropriated and placed in their own storerooms, libraries and museums.’

Surely the Vatican can do the “Christian thing” and return what has unfortunately been acquired through plunder to their rightful heirs, the State of Israel, the lawful representative of the worldwide Jewish community. The time is now.
Read more

The Identifying Feature | Romans 9-11 with Johannes Gerloff #29

If somebody claims to have a calling to be a preacher to the Jewish people, how do we know that he is right?


Scripture for the week: 

Romans 10:15

15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”>