It isn't a secret that Israel's government has a hard time living up to its claim that its laws protect all Israelis equally. Now, a new tax rule proves this continues to be the case, especially for Jews of Sudanese or Eritrean origins.
Since May, a new tax rule imposed by the Israeli government forces employers of African migrants or asylum seekers who are of Sudanese and Eritrean origins to deduct 20 percent of their salary and send it to a fund the employee may only access once he or she leaves Israel.
To Eritrean community organizer Teklit Michael, this new rule has only one goal.
“They want us to leave the country,” he told Reuters. “They want to break our spirit.”
Despite Michael's concerns, Israel's Interior Ministry Misrad Hapnim sees the new rules as an effort that will help and “benefit” African migrants.
Sabine Haddad, a spokeswoman for Hapnim, said that the new rule “[provides] a sum of money that the person will have when he leaves.”
Still, it's hard to believe in the good intentions of the Israeli government. After all, the country has a difficult history with migrants of African origins.
Being a haven for Jews since 1948, MintPress News reports, Jews of African origin were only given the opportunity to enter the country in the 1980s when Ethiopian migrants were finally allowed in. But ever since then, the country never ceased to come up with ways of restricting the flow of African Jewish migrants to the country.
In recent years, reports have shown that African women immigrating to the country were required to take contraceptive injections before entering. This perverse policy made the birth rate among Ethiopian Jews living in Israel drop to 20 percent.
Now, with this new tax policy, the country is effectively imposing new requirements upon African migrants so they feel unwelcome in their own country and among people who share their religious beliefs.
It's absolutely mind-boggling to think that a country that prides itself on being the only “free” nation in the region is capable of administering such a policy.
When will concerned Israelis show their government that such initiatives aren't welcome in a liberal country?