ACRI to the Asheklon Mayor: Immediately Retract Your Decision to Fire Arab Employees


ACRI has urgently contacted the Mayor of Ashkelon following reports of his decision to terminate the employment of Arab workers in construction sites at municipal kindergartens. The letter, sent by ACRI Executive Director Sharon Abraham-Weiss and Attorney Auni Banna, Director of ACRI’s Arab Minority Rights Department, emphasized that this decision is patently illegal as it tramples upon the right to equality, the freedom of occupation and the right to human dignity for all of these workers, and the Arab population as a whole. ACRI demands that the mayor immediately retract this decision.




20 November, 2014

Mr. Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon
Hagvura St. 7, Ashkelon


Dear Sir,

Re: Termination of the Employment of Arab Employees by the Ashkelon Municipality


We read with astonishment your message from yesterday regarding your decision to terminate the employment of Arab workers on building sites for municipal kindergartens in Ashkelon. (See attached Facebook page:

It was not only the patent illegality of the decision that shocked us, but moreso the potentially grave consequences that this letter could lead to – including condoning violence against Arab residents of Ashkelon and Arabs in general.

Labor Laws in Israel, particularly the Equal Opportunities Law 1988, prohibits any discrimination in employment based upon nationality.  The decision to even temporarily terminate the employment of Arab construction workers is a clear violation of this prohibition.

Beyond the legal prohibition on such discrimination, forbidding entry to construction sites for Arab employees, just because they are Arabs, tramples upon the right to equality, freedom of occupation and the right to human dignity for all of these workers and all Arab residents. This is absolutely unjustifiable and contrary to the law.

The mayor is entitled to adopt measures to increase the sense of security among the residents of his city, but this should not be done in violation of basic human rights. No authority exists in the Israeli legal system to enable a municipal official to distinguish between workers on construction sites based on their national identity.

We view with very serious concern the danger associated with your decision. The growing desire to highlight and mark Arab citizens as the enemy, wherever they may be,  is extremely dangerous, and is likely in these difficult times to transform them into the targets of hatred, violence and revenge.

As such, we demand that you immediately order the cancellation of your decision.


Sharon Abraham-Weiss
Executive Director
Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Attorney Auni Banna
Director of the Department for Arab Minority Rights
Association for Civil Rights in Israel



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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, Racism and Discrimination, The Right to Equality

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