General, Occupied Territories

Call for submissions on the subject of: lack of representation and bad politics

0 Comments 05 December 2012

 Rabbis for Human Rights calls upon you to submit articles on the connection between unrepresented groups and bad politics. We would be pleased to receive articles from 300-2000 words.

Submissions may be sent to dover@rhr.israel.net. They will be published on the Rabbis for Human Rights website (rhr.org.il). Please include your name and a short biographical line.

By: Yariv Mohar

Background

“No taxation without representation” was the American slogan of the eighteenth century, objecting to the British crown’s demand for taxes without granting representation in government or decision-making. Since then, the principle has taken root: a population affected by certain decisions must also have political representation. In our opinion, Israel is an excellent example of the gap between decision-makers and the unrepresented.

The settlers are citizens of Israel, which controls the Territories. The settlers enjoy representation in all the democratic institutions, from the Knesset to civil planning committees.

Sources in Jewish tradition regarding the government’s obligations toward the unrepresented: Many Rabbis have taken up the question of representation. Among them: Rabbi Avraham Ibn-Ezra and Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who warn against the injustice that occurs when a politically powerful group rules over the weaker elements of society whose voice is not heard – especially converts.

The Palestinians are subjects of non-democratic military rule. The Civil Administration, an arm of the military, is responsible for the planning process for Palestinians only. It need not be explained that the Palestinians have no representation in Israeli government institutions, and no plans exist that call for any change in that regard. Occasionally the Civil Administration grants Palestinians approval for construction, expansion or blueprints for village plans. All too often, Palestinians are but a tool in the hands of the Civil Administration and government. The results of this lack of representation are manifest in the fact that the planned construction areas for Palestinians are one eleventh the size of territory allocated for the settlers’ construction (in Area C).

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