By Gina Jacobson
Whenever I read an article or see a BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) headline crying that Israel is an apartheid state, I think about a moment I had a while back, while I was traveling home from work on the bus.
The drive is quite scenic and meanders through forests and fields and I often sit by the window just taking in the unique beauty around me.
Well, this day, we came to a stop about halfway home and I noticed a truck pulled over on the side of the road. While there was nothing particularly unusual about that, something else caught my attention. It was then I saw a man get out of the truck. He had something rolled up under his arm and as he looked around, I realised what it was.
The driver of the truck was Muslim, and it was time for late afternoon prayers.
He found a spot just behind his truck on the shoulder of the road and laid his prayer rug down. He then proceeded to kneel and go about his afternoon prayers. Nobody disturbed him; nobody told him that he couldn’t.
Think about that for a moment. A Muslim man, in Jewish state, taking time out of his workday to pray. No one stopped him. No one harassed him. No one even batted an eye.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. The only place where people of all faiths are free to practice their religion without condemnation or harassment. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist – all are welcome and receive equal rights that are protected.
These are rights that are enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and the country features high on the Freedom House index on democratic values and freedoms.
Apartheid was a system of laws of racial discrimination that governed every aspect of a person’s life and was unique to South Africa.
What is “Apartheid” about a country where you are not only free to practice your own religion; but you also have equal opportunity for citizenship, employment, schooling, voting rights, representation in government and serve in the army ?
And if you’re still not convinced, why not pop on over to the Old City of Jerusalem, see the Jews praying at the Kotel (Wailing Wall) , watch the Muslims retire for prayer five times a day as they are summoned by the muezzin and listen to the church bells ring out across the hills and valleys. This is something that is so unique to Jerusalem – and Israel.
Catch a train and see a microcosm of Israel’s citizens or visit any university campus. You get the picture…
The accusation from Israel’s detractors that the Jewish State is an Apartheid practitioner is nothing but a cheap ploy to try and get the global community to isolate her.
I have one thing to say to Israel’s detractors who are accusing the Jewish state of having Apartheid policies. Once you have done all of this and seen for yourself, the reality on the ground, then you can confidently tell me this is an “Apartheid” state. I’ll wait….
Gina Jacobson is a mom, a wife, a dreamer. She loves coffee and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.