From Young Communist League of Israel: “Our current struggles”, a declaration presented to the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students,” held in Ecuador.
1. The Struggle Against the Prawer Plan
The Israeli government is planning to legislate a law (known as “Prawer Plan”) which will drive away from their homes more than 35,000 Arab-Bedouins, who reside in the southern Negev desert. Up to 35 villages will be demolished and their lands confiscated, even though they are citizens of Israel and supposedly entitled to equality before the law.
The YCLI has been active in a broad youth movement to stop the Prawer Plan, with some of our cadres arrested during the last national day of protest.
We urge all the members of WFDY, and all progressive and democratic youth organizations, to raise their voice in protest against this barbarous plan.
. Solidarity with the Refuseniks
For the majority of young people in Israel, military service is mandatory at the age of 18. The majority of Arab youth is exempted, but for those Arab youth who belong to the Druze community – military service is mandatory as well.
Our Comrade Omar Saad is currently imprisoned because of his refusal to enlist to the Israeli army, and to fight his own people. His statement of refusal acknowledged the fact that the Druze community is part of the broader Arab-Palestinian community in Israel, contrary to the Israeli government policy of divide-and-rule.
Previously we were involved in the successful campaign to free Natan Blanc, a young Jewish conscientious objector, who was jailed for 177 days for his refusal to serve the occupation.
The YCLI encourages our fraternal youth movements to organize solidarity with the young conscientious objectors (the so-called “refuseniks“), and to pressure the Israeli government and army to recognize the legitimacy of their refusal.
3. Defending the Rights of Young Workers
The YCLI is issuing material, in Hebrew and Arabic, aimed at young workers, with the intention of educating them about their rights at the workplace: minimum wage, sick days, their right to a secure environment, without sexual harassment and without being discriminated against, etc.
We have motivated a bill in the Israeli parliament aimed at equating the minimum wage law, so that teen workers will paid the same as workers above 18 years of age.
4. Turning Student Councils into Instruments of Struggle
Many high schools have elected student councils, but these bodies rarely act as an independent platform for student organizing, and they are usually co-opted by the establishment and the Ministry of Education.
Comrades from the YCLI have initiated holding elections for student councils in schools where these bodies did not previously exist, and were elected to responsible positions within the councils, with the aim of using them as an instrument to politicize and radicalize students.
5. Against Forcing “National Service” on Arab Youth
The government wishes to force Arab youth – which is generally exempted from military service – to undergo “National Service” at the age of 18. The rhetoric used by government to justify this act, is saying that the fact that Arab youth is exempted from the army – is the reason for their discrimination in society. Therefore the “national service” is being promoted as a way to achieve equality.
The YCLI rejects this false equation, which ties together basic civil rights with the idea of “civil duties”, and reiterates its call for achieving complete national and civil equality for Arab-Palestinian youth within Israel – first and foremost, without any government preconditions.
6. Strengthen Internationalism
The YCLI is thoroughly committed to internationalist ideals and values. We are a Jewish-Arab youth movement, inside a state where problems of racism and nationalism run deep. No other youth movement in Israel is active among both Jewish and Arab young people, and tries to build a joint vision for an equal, democratic and peaceful society.
The YCLI sees itself as part of the world Communist and Progressive youth movement, and wishes to strengthen its links with other similar organizations.
We stand in solidarity with the heroic uprising of the youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East; an uprising which was grounded in the ideas of democracy, secularism, social justice, national independence, and respecting the rights of women and minorities.
We stand alongside the youth of Iran and Syria, which are being the target of the aggressive and provocative threats and actions of the Israeli government, US Imperialism, and its reactionary allies in the region.
We are inspired by the progressive developments in Latin America, and especially by the example of the Cuban Revolution and its leadership.
We feel a sense of solidarity with the social protest movements of young people in Spain, Greece, the United States, and elsewhere.
We believe that the goal of peace, democracy and Socialism – is the common ground that brings all of our movements together.
Young Communist League of Israel
P.O Box 26205, Tel-Aviv 61261
Tel: +972-52-833-0046, Fax: +972-3-6297263, Email: email@example.com