Unless you live in a remote cave, you have probably heard the claim that Israel is an Apartheid State. Let’s look at the truth, see if this is true, and also seek to find if there exists another country more deserving of being called an Apartheid State. The charge against Israel is dependant upon the Israeli government refusing to allow representation of the minority groups such as the Druze and Muslim population and allowing only Jews to serve in all political positions. The most obvious office to consider could be that of the Prime Minister. It is a fact that every Prime Minister of Israel since the founding in 1948 has been Jewish. But is this surprising in a country whose population is over 70% Jewish, probably to be expected just as every English Prime Minister has been English and not American or French. Probably the next most exclusive offices would be those of the Israeli Supreme court. In fact, back in early 1999 Abdel Rahman Zuabi, an Israeli Arab Muslim, was appointed and approved and now sits on the bench of the Supreme court of Israel. Well, there’s strike one against the charge of Apartheid. How about the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset? A quick search of Wikipedia reveals the fourteen current Arab Muslim members, including the first female Arab Muslim, who sit in the Knesset. Also listed on that page are the forty-nine previous Arab Muslims who have been elected to the Knesset. Strike two against the charge of Apartheid. Finally, let’s see if any Israeli minorities have served on the Prime Minister’s Cabinet or close advisors or have been appointed as ambassadors or other high positions within the Israeli government. According to the Washington Post, in January of 2007 Raleb Majadele was approved as the Israeli Arab Muslim to serve on a Prime Minister’s Cabinet. Israel has also appointed a Druze Ambassador and a Bedouin deputy consul general to the United States. They are Reda Mansour, and Ismail Khaldi, respectively and have figured prominently in recent events concerning Israeli operations in towards Gaza. That’s strike three and four against the claims of Israeli Apartheid.
So, where in the Middle East can we find a small minority holding power while disallowing representation by the majority of the country’s population? Well, in Syria all power is vested in the Alawite sect of Shia Muslims despite the majority population of Sunni in Syria. The actual breakdown of the Syrian population is Sunni constitute 74%, Shia constitute 15% of which the Alawite make up merely 12% of the total population, and the rest, including Christians, constitute the remaining 11%. With the 12% Alawite sect of Shia Muslims ruling as dictatorial governance over the vastly more numerous Sunni Muslims, we have found a solid contestant for the title of an Apartheid State in the Middle East. Keep this small and only slightly inconvenient fact in mind the next time you hear somebody calling Israel out as being an Apartheid State and let them in on the nasty little secret about Syria and the true Apartheid State in the Middle East.
Beyond the Cusp