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Divided Nation - Israel/Palestine

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Published on Jul 23, 2007

July 2007
The furor surrounding Israel's rewriting of history schoolbooks reveals the tensions within Israeli society. Arab-Israelis claim they are institutionally discriminated against by the Jewish state. Ibrahim Dwery has been designing homes in Nazareth for 20 years. But when he tried to move there himself, he got a rude awakening. "The estate agent said 'we don't sell to Arabs'". Under Israeli law, not all citizens are equal. The law encourages Jewish immigration but denies residency to spouses from the Palestinian territories. "They are afraid the Arab population of Israel will increase", explains politician Dr Jamal Zehalka. One in five of the Israeli population is an Arab. Their towns receive 50% less funding then Jewish ones and cabinet minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has called for them to be 'transferred' out of Israel. Many Jews believe they are fighting a new battle for Israel's right to exist. "The minute the distinction between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs begins to diminish, you have to give up on the Jewish nature of the state", claims commentator Daniel Gordis. But by this logic; "If Israel is not discriminating against Arabs, then it will not exist", retorts Zehalka. As footballer Abbas Suan states; "Whoever has Israeli papers is an Israeli".

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