Preference for Veterans in Civil Service Hiring Bill Passes 1st Vote

Following a stormy debate, the Knesset plenum approved on Wednesday, December 20, the first of three readings of an amendment to the state’s Civil Service Law. The amendment, which was submitted by far-right MK Mordechai Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and included complementary proposals initiated by MKs Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Anat Berko (Likud), passed by a vote of 67 in favor and 17 against.

Arab-Druze soldiers from the Israeli Army’s Herev Battalion

Arab-Druze soldiers from the Israeli Army’s Herev Battalion (Photo: Israel Armed Forces)

The bill proposes granting priority in hiring for civil service positions through a mechanism of “affirmative action” for candidates coming from the eligible minority groups (Haredi Jews and Arab-Druze), on the condition that they have completed military or national service.

The Joint List has come out against the initiative. Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen said that the amendment “makes guaranteed representation in the civil service of the Arab population meaningless. The point of guaranteed representation is to make room for weaker groups that are not represented.”

Jabareen continued, “If this law is accepted, it will invalidate the need to grant fair representation to the Arab population. The idea of appropriate representation was created in order to give representation to weaker, underrepresented groups. Does anyone claim that army veterans are not represented?”