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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Segregation For Job-Seekers in Karmiel, Israel


So it’s partly true. Segregation does exist in Israel – what’s more it’s active in Karmiel, Galilee, where I’ve lived as an immigrant from Manchester, U.K. for about two years.  All in all, it’s a ‘good job’ that I work from home and no longer face the horrors of any employment exchange!

Meanwhile, the report published in January by IRAC  – the  Progressive Israel Religious Action Centre – shows that such discrimination is largely gender-based.

I quote in full  from the opening section of  Excluded for God’s Sake - Gender Segregation and the Exclusion of Women in Public Space in Israel

“Segregation in the Provision Public Services

Chapter 10 (Page 33)

Segregation in the employment office in Karmiel”

“A report published on the website on December 18 2011 revealed that the Employment Office in the city of Karmiel sets aside separate days for male jobseekers, who are requested to come to the office on Sunday, and female jobseekers, who are asked to come on Tuesday.

“The first time jobseekers come to the office, they may attend on any day of the week, but thereafter gender segregation is imposed. The article reported that the Employment Office had claimed that it is “more convenient to provide service for men and women on separate days  … It prevents stress and chaos in the waiting room and is more aesthetic.”

Druze.Woman“The article quoted Yossi Farhi, the director of the Employment Services Board, as stating that there is no legal problem with the segregation, since it is not coercive but is imposed at the request of the Druze sector. He added that the office serves mainly the Arab and Druze sectors, who “have requested to have separate days,” and that the office has observed this practice for many years, including the period before it moved to Karmiel, when it was located in the Druze town of Beit Jan.

“We contacted the director of the Employment Services Board and clarified that even if the segregation is imposed at the request of members of the Arab and Druze sectors, this demand came only from male members of these sectors; no-one asked the women for their opinion. Such a request cannot justify the presence of this discriminatory practice, which, as has been  noted, is unlawful.

“Regarding the claim that the segregation is not coercive, we emphasised that the different treatment of Jewish women (who are “permitted” to receive service on the days allocated for men) and Arab women (who are not) is in itself discriminatory and illegal. The definition of separate days for men and women leaves citizens with little choice but to obey the dictate. Effectively, therefore, this practice constitutes the imposition of segregation on jobseekers.”

I think they’ll have to think it out again!

  • Also published by IRAC in January was Women Talk About Segregation in Israel - Thirteen Women on Discrimination in the Public Sphere.



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