The Extension of Israel’s Discriminatory Admissions Committee Law

It has been reported that Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Interior Minister, has proposed the extension of Israel’s discriminatory Admissions Committees Law to include communities of up to 700 households. The Admissions Committees Law (Cooperative Societies Ordinance – Amendment No.8), was passed in 2011, legalises the ‘Admission Committees’ that operate in hundreds of small community towns built on state land, and is primarily implemented in Al Naqab (Negev) and the Galilee regions. Previously, Admissions Committees were restricted to communities of 400 households or less.


The law gives Admission Committees the power to reject residency applications of individuals on the grounds that they do not meet the vague and undefined ‘social suitability criteria’, or on the basis that said individuals may ‘damage the socio-cultural fabric’ of the towns in question. The law amounts to legally sanctioned discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, as it allows for the rejecting residency applications for certain towns on the sole basis of their ethnicity, and the law is applied overwhelmingly in certain regions in Israel, such as the Negev, where Palestinians are a majority.


The recently proposed extension to the law to include larger communities would allow for discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in far more communities than before. It would also set the precedent of the law being extended, and will likely to indefenite extensions which may eventually encompass most communities in Israel.


Yisrael Hasson, a sponsor of the law, formerly of the Kadima Party, said in December 2010 that “the bill reflects the Knesset’s commitment to work to preserve the ability to realize the Zionist dream in practice in the state of Israel” through “population dispersal”, and that the “Realization of these goals obliged us as legislators to ensure the existence of a screening mechanism for applicants to these communities.”


Blatant discriminatory legal practices of this kind are in clear contravention of codified legal norms stipulated in numerous international treaties to which Israel is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Moreover, the admissibility of such discriminatory policies in Israeli law betrays the truly undemocratic and racist nature of the State of Israel.