Israel: Racial Segregation or Apartheid Policy?

Apartheid is “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race” (, 2014) with its origins in South Africa. It was implemented by the National Party and was abolished in 1994 (Hexham, 2014). Apartheid is an injustice system and can be seen via Israeli governmental policies towards Palestinians. These include the occupation of the West Banks, checkpoints for Palestine’s, Jewish settlements (which are illegal and have been condemned by many nations), policies on mixed marriages and other legislature. Tait’s article discusses a new busing system in Israel that segregates Palestinians into separate buses, which is a form of institutionalized racism. I would like to begin by stating that I am in no way generalizing that every Jewish citizen in Israel supports/participates in this racist system.

The Israeli transportation ministry devised a segregated bus system after two Jewish settlers complained about Palestinians being a potential threat to traveler’s on buses that go between the West Bank and Tel Aviv. With reports of overcrowding and fights between Israeli and Palestinian passengers, the transport ministry came up with this busing system. The transport ministry’s spokesperson mentioned that there is no official ban for Palestinian on the settler’s bus but rather they would be pointed towards a different bus. It should be noted that “Palestinians say they have been forced to walk several miles to their homes or use expensive taxi services since the policy of removing them from buses began. An estimated 29,000 Palestinians travel to jobs in Israel every day, according to official figures.” This quote displays the effects of the segregated buses for Palestinians. I speculate if the settlers are facing any repercussions due to the new busing policies? Or do they just get priority for being part of the ‘superior race’ and thereby reaping the benefits of having a Jewish heritage.

The Zionist movement, a movement for a homeland has been detrimental to Palestinian and can be seen through the apartheid policies of segregation, in this case the busing system. The religious Zionist movement has policies that do not acknowledge the Palestine people and only individuals with Jewish heritage can become citizens (Bernstein, 2014). Consider the Israeli flag, it has the Star of David a symbol of Judaism and it portrays the inclusive nature towards those of the Jewish faith (Bernstein, 2014).

The Palestinians only buses are a visual sign of apartheid policy, segregation based on one’s race and the buses reek of racist policies. Racism towards Arabs is an underlining issue and can be seen when Nabila Ramdani a French-Algerian journalist and broadcaster mentioned in an opinion piece the following: “I have often taken buses from Ramallah, on the West Bank, to Jerusalem and every time Arabs on board were made to feel like criminals.”

I would like to reiterate that I do NOT consider Jewish people as being racist but rather I find the Israeli segregated buses to be racist. Nevertheless, I wonder if Israeli government will continue with its discriminatory legislature or if it will begin to realize the apartheid policy it is advocating. I would go as far as to say that Israel is becoming apartheid. As can be observed when a member for an Israeli-Palestine campaign group, Women For Civil Disobedience denounced the buses and stated that “this bus situation is a step in the direction of petty apartheid because people are being segregated in their daily activities.” I also know that not every Jewish citizen agrees with these policies as was with South Africa.

The Israel and Palestine issue is complex subject matter and ultimately I believe that the road the Israeli government is embarking on will be detrimental to the Israeli society. This can be already seen by “a new United Nations Human Rights Committee report [which] calls on Israelis to end their institutionalised discrimination against Palestinians, citing 18 examples of the way they differentiate between the “Jewish and non-Jewish population” (Ramdani,2014).


#349 #uwreligions



Apartheid. Retrieved November 28, 2014, from

Bernstein, O. (Professor) (2014, November 24). Zonism. Rels 349. Lecture conducted from University of Calgary, Calgary.

Hexham, I. (Professor) (2014, November 5). Apartheid. Rels 349. Lecture conducted from University of Calgary, Calgary.

Ramdani, N. (Author). Bus segregation is one aspect of Israeli apartheid | The National. Retrieved November 28, 2014, from


2 thoughts on “Israel: Racial Segregation or Apartheid Policy?

  1. One must remember when considering any of Israel’s actions that Israel and Palestine are at war. This isn’t as simple as mere racism and it’s not like Apartheid. Apartheid was based on racism. Israel is constantly the target of hostility and attacks from its neighbors. Perhaps this is not a good policy, but it seems to be motivated by maintenance of public order and safety more than racism. I’m not suggesting that there is definitely not some element of racism in this or that I agree with this policy at all, but I just don’t think we have enough evidence to make such an accusation.

    Furthermore, Jews are constantly a target of bigotry themselves. Iran has declared its desire for Israel to be destroyed, Hamas fires rockets at it and performs suicide bombings, many countries don’t even recognize Israel and never have, and Israeli citizens are restricted from many countries. There have been many reports of systemic human rights abuses from several of these countries far worse than anything Israel has ever done. Israel sure gets a lot of flack for its relatively minor human rights abuses that seem to be mostly motivated by self-defense. Again, Israel’s policies often seem questionable, but I don’t know what it is like to live in fear for my life due to being so close to war.

  2. I agree with your analysis of Israel becoming an apartheid state through simple measures such as segregating people through different buses. I disagree with the course that Israeli politicians are taking when it comes to solving the problem with Palestine. The path that the Government of Israel is taking will only lead to suppression of the Palestinian people which can spark a hostile attitude from the Palestinians towards the Israeli Jews.

    Recently the Israeli government has proposed the Jewish State Bill to be passed.

    This bill would further affirm Israel as a Jewish state for Jewish people. This would mean that it effectively leaves out any minorities living in the borders of Israel. The bill also contradicts the goals of Benjamin Netanyahu which is to keep Israel a Jewish state. How can a state be purely Jewish if there is a non-Jewish minority? A better way to solve this would have been through negotiating a possible two-state solution, but with the Jewish State Bill proposed, it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon.

    What do you think the Jewish State Bill will do for the possible problem of apartheid becoming reality in Israel? I believe that this bill further segregates the minorities and that the Palestinians will have a harder time integrating into society. Creating a bigger rift between two people’s that already have high tensions between each other is a poor way of approaching it. I’m sure neither side wants apartheid, but rather peace.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s