I really wanted to entitle this article “Informing the Ignorant” but I recalled my wife’s frequent advice: “Always be polite and always show humility.” So in deference to her memory, I will attempt only to inform the “badly informed”.
I do so because of the many e-mail messages and responses I receive from readers who describe Israel’s treatment of its Arab population as akin to the American slavery and maltreatment of its blacks, who, at that time did not have citizenship nor any rights.
First of all, people need to understand that 20 percent of the Israeli population are Arabs who are full citizens of the State of Israel. They vote in national and municipal elections and have their own representatives in our parliament, the Knesset.
Regrettably, many of those representatives do not give 100% to the needs of their followers and, unfortunately, tend to follow patterns of their Jewish colleagues who prefer to keep a warm seat rather than dealing with controversial issues that might weaken their political future.
In some respects, Arabs are denied the same degree of attention as the Jews. There are still scattered Arab villages in our country which do not have electricity or sufficient water. There are Arab schools which do not receive the equal percentage of government allotments which are given to Jewish schools. And roads, streets and infrastructure in Arab cities frequently lack the attention of the government.
But it is vital to share some statistics which the “badly informed” do not know.
In our higher education institutes, 79% of Israeli Arabs are enrolled in our 8 colleges and universities.
15% of the Arab students complete the B.A. degree, 11 % complete the M.A. degree, and 6% of Arab students complete and receive the Ph.D. degree. What would be the comparable numbers from America’s African-American students?
In the year 2000, 62% of all Arab university students were women. In 2017 the numbers increased to 71% and Arab Ph.D. candidates rose to 56%.
In the medical field, 23% of all Israeli doctors are Arabs and 46% are registered pharmacists.
In the very prestigious Haifa Technion, comparable with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 28% of hi-tech students are Arabs. Hi-tech is one of Israel’s most world acclaimed industries.
In our law courts, 52 judges out of 672 are Arabs. And one outstanding Arab is a Justice in our Supreme Court.
Those numbers and percentages show the lies perpetuated by the (“ignorant”) badly-informed people in countries around the world whose eyes have not been opened to Israel’s great progress and achievements.
Comparing the percentages of Israeli Arabs to those of Palestinian or Jordanian Arabs, one can be extremely proud of Israel’s attention to its Arab students. The percentages of Arab women in Palestinian or Jordanian academics, can probably be counted on one’s fingers and toes.
There are Arab members in Israel’s multi-political parties but nary a one in the parliaments of any Arab country. There is one Jewish member in the Iranian (non-Arab) parliament who represents the small Jewish community remaining in Iran.
But when all is said and done, most of the badly-informed who e-mail me and respond to my articles, should truly join a group tour and visit Israel to see the wonders of our flourishing land.
Hopefully then, the “informed” may continue and the “badly” erased.