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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tsofen and the Arab citizens of Israel

I went last night to an interesting event organised by the UK Task Force on Issues Facing Arab Citizens of Israel, about the work of Tsofen, an organisation that aims to accelerate and increase the level of Arab participation in the Israeli hi-tech industry. It was good to hear about Tsofen's valuable work and I am a great supporter of the Task Force more generally. When I first heard about it, I wondered why we Brits were setting up a task force to advise another country's government on its approach to minority rights? The answer to that question is that, if the Anglo-Jewish community is going to raise and spend charitable funds on projects in Israel, then it is deeply important to consider how those funds are spent, hence the great value added by the Task Force, following the success of a similar North American initiative

Of course, Israel is a Parliamentary democracy in which every citizen has the vote, freedom of expression and equality before the law. Arab citizens of Israel serve in Parliament, in the judiciary and in the diplomatic service; Majalli Wahabi, a Druze citizen of Israel, served a few years ago as Israel's Acting President, in yet further proof that those who lie about "Israeli apartheid" know even less about apartheid than they do about Israel. However, the situation faced by Arab citizens of Israel remains far from perfect, hence the need for the sort of initiatives that the UK Task Force is promoting.

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