Comment from Adam Keller on the military service regulations

I asked Adam Keller of "The Other Israel" for his comments on the decision by several Israeli universities to raise their age for admission. Here is his reply, verbatim.

From: "Adam Keller" 
To: SA Blackwell 
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 21:09:33 +0000
Subject: Re: Israeli universities and military service
Dear Friend

I have read the Hebrew text you sent me. I was not aware of this particular form of discrimination, thanks for making me aware of this issue.

In general this is part of the result of some rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court which, far from perfect, try to introduce in Israel some of the democratic standards prevalent in the Western World. As a result, it is no longer possible to openly discriminate [against] Arabs and say that this is justified "because we are a Jewish state". It is even hard to discriminate [against] people who had not served in the army which was the main way (and to some degree still is used).

The military service is not so much used as a genuine way to reward soldiers, but rather as a way to discriminate against Arabs. For example, when a "wanted" ad includes the words "after military service", that is just an euphemism for "no Arab need apply". Arabs who did serve in the IDF (mainly Druze and Bedouins) would usually not get such jobs even when they can point to a distinguished combat record. The same with other kinds of discrimination based on military service.

The Supreme Court has now made it more difficult to discriminate on this basis, so those who still want to discriminate have to be more creative and inventive. This age limitation in the universities is clearly an example.

One of the main arguments which you very often [hear] from racists here is that Jews are being discriminated against becuase they have to serve in the Army as conscripts, three years for men, two for women, while Arabs can go to the university at 18. There were all kinds of groups demanding to have such an age limitation in order "to end the discrimination of Jews", quote unquote. To many Israelis this seems quite plausible. To me, of course, not.

I hope this proved useful to you, you can certainly quote me.

Yours, Adam Keller

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