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Non-discrimination and affirmative action in Israeli law.

The prohibition of discrimination is well anchored in Israeli law. Yet, nondiscriminatory hiring practices and affirmative action are not an integral part of the Israeli political and legal tradition; programs, laws and regulations concerning active anti-discrimination policy are a very new constituent of legal and political activity in the area of employment.

Requirements with regard to affirmative action and adequate representation are to be found only in instructions connected with specific laws. The reference is to amendments first passed in the middle of the 1990s, designed to introduce affirmative action and adequate representation into public service and government corporations--with regard to women, Arab citizens and Ethiopian Israelis. It should be mentioned that such requirements are limited, for two reasons: firstly, they are worded in the most general way, without referring to rank or function, and secondly, they refer only to the public sector and not to the private one. Following are the main requirements:

* Article 18A (1993) of the Government Companies Law of 1975, which requires adequate representation of women and men on boards of directors of government corporations;

* Amendment 7 (1995) to the Public Service Law (Appointments) of 1959, which requires adequate representation of women and men in the public service;

* Amendment 1 1 (2000) to the Public Service Law (Appointments), which mandates fair representation for Arab citizens in the public service sector, in all ministries and agencies, and requires taking the necessary steps to do this. The amendment gives the government authority to allot specific positions to Arab employees and to obligate government ministries and agencies to submit an annual report on implementation of the amendment and the proportion of Arab employees in the department;

* Amendment 1 1 (2000) to the Government Companies Law, which mandates that boards of directors of government corporations give adequate representation to the Arab population and instructs ministers to appoint Arab directors whenever possible, until the goal of fair representation is achieved.

* A 2005 amendment to Article 15A of the Public Service Law (Appointments) that requires affirmative action for Ethiopian Israelis applying for public service jobs.

* A complementary bill requiring adequate representation for Arab employees in manufacturing firms was tabled during the sixteenth and seventeenth Knessets, but failed to pass.

In contrast to the situation with regard to affirmative action, Israeli law clearly recognizes the principle of prohibition of discrimination in employment as an international norm as well as a norm anchored in domestic legislation. Israel is a signatory to most of the existing international conventions dealing with the prohibition of discrimination in employment, and over the years the Law of

Equal Employment Opportunities of 1988 has been amended to include the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender, parenthood, family status, ethnic group, belief, country of origin and age. In addition to legislation that prohibits discrimination, there is also legislation pertaining to specific social groups--women, persons with disabilities, and demobilized soldiers--that prohibits discrimination and also provides for a certain degree of affirmative action in employment. In 2007, an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission was created for the very purpose of eliminating discrimination in employment.
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Title Annotation:Non-discriminatory hiring practices in Israel towards Arab Citizens, Ethiopian Israelis and new immigrants from Bukhara and the Caucasus
Author:Dagan-Buzaglo, Noga
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Nov 1, 2008
Previous Article:Non-discriminatory hiring practices: immigrants from Bukhara and the Caucasus.
Next Article:Best practices and recommendations.

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