Building Bridges, Not Walls: The Call for Inclusion of Haredim in the Racism Law

In a recent gathering at the Knesset, MK Yaakov Asher passionately advocated for including haredim as a protected minority under the Racism Law. The session, marked by spirited debates and interruptions, shed light on the stark reality faced by the Haredi community.

Asher took a bold stance, accusing some factions of painting the Haredi community as the ‘other,’ an internal antagonist. His outcry came as a response to a past incident involving an elected official’s derogatory remarks about the Haredi public, which went unchecked as the existing law doesn’t provide the necessary protections for the Haredim.

In the heat of the discussion, Asher made a poignant remark, “Am I not identified as a Haredi? Are my children not identified as Haredi?” He argued that haredim, like any other community, deserve protection under the Racism Law. This law should deter any form of discrimination or vilification aimed at this group, which is every bit as part of Israeli society as any other.

While the opposition, predominantly from the Yesh Atid party, tried to disrupt his speech, Asher didn’t back down. He drew parallels, asking what the response would be if other minorities, such as Russian immigrants, were subject to similar derogatory remarks. He called out the double standards and hypocrisy, insisting on the need for inclusion and equal protection for all citizens of Israel.

In his concluding remarks, Asher underlined the need for such a law, expressing his disappointment that society has reached a point where it’s necessary. The message was clear: discrimination and prejudice against any community, including the Haredi, should never be tolerated.

The preliminary voting on the amendment saw a majority of 54 MKs supporting the change. This step towards inclusion is a powerful testament to Israel’s commitment to safeguarding the rights and dignity of all its citizens.

Israel stands as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, not just because of its political structure, but also due to its unwavering commitment to the principles of respect, equality, and protection of all its citizens. This incident reasserts the importance of unity and the need for every Israeli, regardless of their background, to stand up against prejudice. After all, the strength of Israel lies in its diversity and its embrace of that diversity, serving as a testament to its resilience and spirit.