Israel's Lack of a Constitution

The following was sent to the Boston Globe in response to a long turgid piece about prospects for an Israeli constitution.

Dear Editor:

David B. Green describes the difficulties Israel is having in creating a consitution, but dances around the main issue. A democratic constitution would require that Israel abandon the apartheid system that's enshrined in its basic laws and government policy and that's not something that the ruling parties or its overseas "friends" would support.

You have a country where 93% of the land can't be sold or leased to non-Jews, where the Palestinians citizens are not welcome in the army and pay for it with substandard social benefits later on, where whole job categories and industries are closed to them, where Arab communities have been stripped of land land for farming or expansion, where a hundred thousand live in unrecognized villages without water lines or public education, and where hundreds of Arab homes are bulldozed each year. It's a country where schools are separate and unequal and where the security services screen every Arab teacher to make such they will not teach Arab citizens about their history, literature and culture.

It's a country where a person with one Jewish ancestor can immigrate freely, but where Arab citizens can be declared "present absentees" and kept away from their homes for ever. It's a country with "underground families" living together illegally because one spouse is an Arab from the occupied territories. It's a country where an Arab party has never been allowed in the government. I could go on, but it should be clear that maintaining a Jewish superiority state and living by a democratic constitution are in complete contradiction.

Stanley Heller
Middle East Crisis Commitee