Israeli elections are coming up and, just as in previous elections, Israel’s regime is being denounced as an ‘apartheid state.’ Many look to the absence of Arabs in the ruling circle and the failure of elected parties to include Arab Parties in their coalition as evidence of Israel being an apartheid state. However, these critics are, plain and simply, wrong. By definition, an apartheid has significant legal constrictions for particular ethnic, cultural or religious groups; Israel does not fit any of these criteria
Yes, Arabs are socially and economically less than Jews. But the government cannot be blamed for this. There are two major reasons why this holds true. Firstly, the Jewish work ethic is much stronger than the Arab work ethic. There is a reason why Jews work harder wherever they live; they have always faced persecution and discrimination historically, and consequently have had to work harder, longer, more efficiently. Also, Arabs are a minority making up just 20% of the total Israeli population. In a similar way, African-Americans and Hispanics in the United States are socioeconomically disadvantaged for their poorer work ethic (stemming from centuries of slavery when they had no incentive to work beyond the minimum daily quota) and their minority position in society.
Yes, Arab parties do not fare well in elections, but that is often because they are very radical and pro-Palestine. It is the same reason why the Black Panthers do not fare well in U.S. elections; the groups do not fit into the mainstream political view, not because of the ethnic composition of the group, but because of its radical ideologies.
Yes, certain Jews in Israel do get certain privileges. The ultra-conservative Jewish scholars can get exemptions if they attend a yeshiva where they research on issues pertinent to Jewish and Arab people, such as the Holocaust. However, this in a way fulfills the military requirement. After all, the purpose of military service in Israel is as much defensive as it is to unique the diverse cultural groups and help Israelis learn more about their nation. It is the same reason that native people in the United States and Canada get many privileges that other Americans do not. Certain minority groups with unique cultures need special entitlements to preserve their culture in any country, be it Israel or a Western nation.
Yes, people in Gaza do not have the same legal rights as Israelis, but that is not because they are discriminated by the Israeli government. In fact, the occupied regions West Bank and Gaza Strip are ruled by the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS.
Yes, Israel has created walls and made immigration from Palestinian territories into Israel difficult, but that is because of the high rates of suicide bombings since the Intifada. In fact, the United States also has a wall separating it from Mexico and it makes immigration and even tourism from Latin American nations difficulty. But that is because the United States, like Israel faces a threat from outsiders: whereas Israel faces the risk of terrorism, the United States faces the equally daunting challenge of illegal immigration from its neighbors.
As I have made clear many times before, I am not a supporter of Israel. I am, however, a supporter of knowledge and believe that while Israel is clearly condemnable for many of its actions outside its borders, within its own nation it is by far the freest, most democratic state in the Middle East offering the greatest civil rights to ALL of its people.