Israel excludes Christians, Muslims in new Jewish-only neighborhood building
Adalah: Construction of new neighborhoods exclusively for Israeli military personnel is illegal residential segregation. Israeli military’s ‘Housing Authority’ discriminates against Arab families, establishing dozens of housing developments nationwide at discount prices available only to selected career military personnel; Adalah: Project violates ban on housing and land allocation discrimination.
The Israeli military has initiated a discriminatory nationwide housing development project offering discounted homes exclusively to a group of career military personnel selected by the army in what amounts to state-sponsored residential segregation.
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter last month month to Israel’s attorney general, finance minister, defense minister, the Israel Land Authority, and the military’s housing authority demanding the cancellation of the housing development projects and associated land allocations due to their illegal, discriminatory nature.
According to the Israeli military’s housing authority, it has already constructed some 6,000 such housing units in a string of projects across the country.
In her letter from 4 February 2021, Adalah Attorney Mysssana Morany stressed that the establishment of entire neighborhoods for career military personnel constitutes residential discrimination – which is illegal.
The allocation of plots for these housing developments is being conducted without any public tenders, thanks to a regulation that Adalah demands must be annulled because it too is illegal.
In a promotional video, the Israeli military’s housing authority assures potential residents that they will “live [in] a quality and cohesive community” boasting “quality of life and quality neighbors – people who have been carefully selected, just like you”.
One such project is now being marketed in the city of Upper Nazareth (recently renamed “Nof Hagalil” by Israeli authorities). According to promotional materials, potentially-interested career military personnel are granted a “one-time opportunity to purchase a four- to five- room apartment of high-quality, terraced construction in the heart of a spectacular area … [at a] very attractive price starting at NIS 650,000 [~US$200,500].”
In a promotional video, the Israeli military’s housing authority assures potential residents that they will “live [in] a quality and cohesive community” boasting “quality of life and quality neighbors – people who have been carefully selected, just like you”
The construction of new residential neighborhoods intended for career military and defense establishment personnel is being conducted via a network that includes the Israeli military’s manpower division, the Israel Land Authority, and the local municipalities in which the new neighborhoods are located.
The military’s housing authority locates suitable land plots, sometimes following an application from a local authority, and earmarks the plots for career personnel selected by the military who are then organized as a registered association. There are currently at least 18 active associations of this type organized around the country.
Land allotment intended for the establishment of residential neighborhoods for career servicemen are exempt from public tender as a result of a regulation based on a request by the Israeli military and the approval of the Defense Ministry.
Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany emphasized in her letter that the establishment of neighborhoods exclusively for career military personnel disproportionately violates the right to equality and human dignity, lacks legislative backing, and violates basic legal principles prohibiting residential segregation and discrimination in land allocation.
Adalah demands a halt to the Israeli military’s program offering reduced-cost housing projects exclusively to select career personnel, a freeze in all developments that have not yet commenced construction, and an end to uncontested military land allocations for discriminatory housing projects.
Attorney Myssana Morany, coordinator of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights Unit, commented:
“The military card has always been used to exclude Palestinian citizens of Israel and the practice continues with this Israeli military project that grants residential benefits according to discriminatory criteria – openly depriving certain populations of equal opportunity to limited land and housing resources.”