Court: Jewish Fund Must Amend Its Policy
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Supreme Court on Monday gave the country's main land distributor three months to change its policy of selling property only to Jews — a practice that Israel's Arab minority deems racist.
The policy also has provoked criticism of the Jewish National Fund — one of world Jewry's most beloved organizations.
Supporters of the fund insist it has the right to refuse to market its lands to Arabs.
The case points up a basic contradiction Israel has been grappling with for decades: maintaining its Jewish character while offering equality to its Arab minority in the framework of a democratic regime.
The venerable Jewish group in effect acknowledged before the court that it can no longer eliminate Israeli Arabs from its land transactions, agreeing to reinstitute a complex land-for-land deal to try to keep everyone happy.
"I think part of this is redefining the vision of what the JNF is all about," said Mike Nitzan, a member of the fund's board.
The fund is a century-old symbol of the drive to reclaim the Holy Land and fill it with Jews. Founded in 1901, it is known around the Jewish world for its little blue collection boxes, where Jews contributed money to buy land for settlement.
A century later, the fund is still in the business of providing land for Jewish settlement in Israel, owning about 13 percent of the land in the country.
But even some Jewish critics say it has outlived its usefulness in a modern, democratic state that grants equal rights to non-Jewish minority citizens. Legal expert Moshe Negbi told Israel Radio the fund should have been phased out when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
Under the deal accepted Monday by the Israeli court, while the fund would agree to sell lands to Arabs, the Israel Lands Authority would give the JNF an equal amount of land in exchange. That would allow the fund to tell its contributors that it still maintains its original function of providing land for Jews in Israel. The court ordered the fund to come up with a permanent solution in three months.
Critics charged the deal still discriminates against Israel's Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population.
"The JNF's policy could create a total separation between Arabs and Jews in where they live," said Auni Bana, a lawyer with one of the petitioners, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. "This is racism."
On the other side, die-hard fund donors insisted they won't let the organization back down. Israeli Nobel laureate Robert Aumann and former military chief Moshe Yaalon said they want to join the court case on the side of the JNF.
"The good Jews who donated money 60, 50, 40 years ago, and even today didn't do so to sell land to Arabs," Aumann told Israel Radio on Monday.
The case has been in the courts since 2004, when the ILA abandoned the land-swap arrangement with the fund, and the JNF in turn stopped marketing lands to Arabs.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has ruled that the fund must allow non-Jews to buy its land, following the offering of a tender in northern Israel in which Arabs were not allowed to bid.
Mr Bagel: So lets get this clear. The thousands of Jews that have donated their money since the beggining of the 20th century on the condition that the money would be used to give land to Jews have now had their donations, bequests changed with out their consent, their intentions are going to be dishonored, their rights to chose what they do with their money are going to be trampled all so Arabs are able to buy this land.
The same Arabs who threaten any Arab with death if they sell to Jews any of their land.
This is political correctness gone crazy.
The JNF has an obligation to respect the wisdes of its donors especially considering that the JNF clearly indicated what the land would be used for.
What will this do with the price of land in Israel? How do you stop Arabs with funding from other rich Arab countries from buying vast quantities of land in Israel?
Why can a Jew not buy land in Arab land? Yet an Arab can not only buy land in Israel but can actually buy land from an organisation set up for Jews to purchase land for Jews. This decision is sickening.
Israel must relise it does not exist in a vacuum, their are many forces contrary to the principles of democracy and civil rights which are working against the spiritof these rights.
Any decision about civil rights must at least pay respect to the dangerous and unique position Israel finds itself in, where else is a country so clearly threatened on a continual basis by its neighbours? Where else is there such a disparity between the rights of all Israeli's and those in other neighboring countries.
What rights does a Jew have in Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Jordon? Gaza? Civil rights should be not be the exclusive right of people living in Israel, they should be common to all the region, the fact they aren't should be calculated into the repercussions of any judgments on the rights of one people to another in Israel.
Until Arabs are able to freely partake in the buying and selling of land to Jews in Israel they should not be able to enter the market place to only buy land.
Court decisions on Civil rights must reflect the uniqueness of Israel's position in the Middle East. To do otherwise is simply folly.
AP: Court: Jewish Fund Must Amend Its Policy
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Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Court: Jewish Fund Must Amend Its Policy
Posted by Mr Bagel at Tuesday, September 25, 2007