Order Nisi regarding Representation of Women and Arabs in the Israel Lands Administration

Photo by Melanie TakefmanPhoto by Melanie Takefman

The High Court orders the State to explain why the ILA should not appoint permanent Arab and women members.
 
The High Court of Justice issued the Order Nisi yesterday (21 May 2012) in a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice. At a previous stage in the proceeding, the State proposed appointing women and Arabs as deputy members of the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) Council. In her reply, ACRI attorney Rawia Aburabia argued that the State’s proposal does not meet the legal requirements for due representation and that standing members from these groups should also be appointed.
 
The State now has 60 days to explain why the ILA Council should not appoint permanent Arab and women members in a manner ensuring due representation of these populations.
 
Responsible for administering 93% of the land in the State of Israel, the ILA wields exceptional power. In the past, the ILA Council included academics and public representatives, providing a measure of flexibility in its membership. Two Arab members were appointed to the Council in 2001 following a petition filed by ACRI. However, a 2009 amendment to the law requires all of the members of the Council to be employees of government ministries, with the exception of two representatives of the Jewish National Fund (who are Jewish, in keeping with the JNF’s declared goals).
 
At the time the current petition was filed, all of the members of the Council were Jewish men. A woman has since been appointed Director-General of the Ministry of the Environment, and she is currently the only female member of the Council. There are still no Arab members.
 
According to Attorney Aburabia, “the State cannot meet its obligation for due representation in the civil service by means of the improper practice of appointing women and Arabs as deputy members of the ILA Council.  The court’s decree thwarts the State’s attempt to strip its obligation of due representation in the civil service of any real content.”
 
Click here to read the petition (HCJ 8318/10 – in Hebrew).
 

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Land Distribution and Planning Rights, Racism and Discrimination, The Right to Equality, Women's Rights

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