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Israel's humane society


The Serbian vulture (Photo courtesy of Galai PR)

The following is my latest piece for Al Jazeera.

Lima, Peru – Last week, Israel’s High Court voted to uphold a law denying Israeli citizenship or residency not only to Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs, but also to spouses of similarly distasteful nationality (Lebanese, Iraqi, etc).

I read the news of the court verdict on the Haaretz website, where it was offset by another breaking headline of a more compassionate nature: “Serbian vulture set free after treatment at Israeli veterinary hospital”.

According to the article:

The vulture was found injured at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in northern Israel, and was rushed to an Israeli veterinary hospital specializing in wild animals. There, the bird was diagnosed with multiple gunshot wounds.

Following two months of treatment, the vulture was set free. The Serbian embassy in Tel Aviv was reportedly “delighted to hear about the bird’s recovery, and Serbian diplomats attended the release of the Serbian ‘patient’ back into the wild”. Haaretz offered the following assessment:

Flying in the Middle East can be perilous for the scavenger birds, as they are sometime [sic] shot by people ignoring the international treaties protecting these birds.

As for other creatures imperiled by ignorance of international treaties, these might include Palestinian populations regularly subjected to collective punishment in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The inferior urgency of Palestinian medical conditions vis-a-vis avian ones is additionally underscored by the Israeli tradition of firing missiles at Palestinian ambulances, as well as by Haaretz headlines such as “IDF investigating death of diabetic Palestinian delayed at checkpoint” and “Palestinians: Ailing woman dies after IDF denies her ambulance”.

A 2004 Guardian article chronicling an Israeli bulldozing rampage in Gaza meanwhile reveals that the value of avian life also fluctuates in accordance with ethnogeographic determinants. The following description is of the aftermath of the demolition of the Rafah zoo:

One of the ostriches lay half buried in the rubble. Guinea fowl and ducks were laid out in a row. Goats and a deer struggled with broken legs … [Zoo co-proprietor Mohammed Ahmed] Juma accused Israeli soldiers of stealing valuable African parrots.

According to the article, after initially denying the destruction of the zoo and then conceding that a tank may have perhaps backed into it, the IDF eventually acknowledged having driven through the establishment, but “a spokesman said the soldiers had released the animals from their cages in a compassionate gesture to prevent them being harmed”.

Click here to continue reading at Al Jazeera.



  1. bigmikecraft says:

    At the non-risk of giving an educated, non bio-eugenic comment, let me say that Israel is a democracy and a small one at that. Israel does not want to be overrun, by anyone who wishes to be a citizen! The United States is in the process of changing our laws to remedy the citizeship failures of the present! Israel can not afford to make non-jews citizens. This will destroy the concept of Israel. They have let in too many as it is and are struggling to withstand an almost 7 million person population now! The Russian immigration was ill conceived and Israel has suffered for it. In no nation, should a spouse or immigrant be granted citizenship immediately. It is wrong. The United States has allowed too many legal and illegal immigrants into the nation. If I run for the NY Senate seat, held by my political brat counterpart, Ms. Rudnick Guillibrand, (both our fathers were corrupt political operatives from the past) I would propose making it a big issue. I would insist that the ‘One foot on land law be recinded” and that any child born of an illegal not be allowed citizenship! This might sound harsh to Ms.Fernandez, but it is practical! Let the citizens of other nations stay there to clean up their new governments and the fact is that citizenship must be by the numbers and legal! Israel is too small to keep swallowing citizens! The currency can not stand another devaluation! I am a first maternal generation citizen. My mother came here legally! My grandchild’s mother just became a citizen legally, after 12 years! Good Luck to Ms. Fernandez, and her reporting! Sincerely bigmikecraft

    • Some might label it a democracy and contend that is because it has some of the characteristics of one…but it’s not… double standards? Yes. Discrimination? Yes…. Having qualities and attributes that seem democratic does not make a democracy. Sorry… Israel at best is a stratified society that tolerates non Jews and lets Non Jews and those relating to non Jews know they’re outsiders… Period
      Belen you’re doing an outstanding Job. Keep up the great work please the world needs decent folks like you so desperately.

  2. Reality Check says:

    Madam, Goebels would be proud of you. Luckily your opinion is totally irrelevant.
    Israel is a true democracy, Human Rights are at its core. The majority of the Arab minority in Israel refines itself as proud to be Israeli, primarily because of our approach to human rights, not just minorities but the elderly, the handicapped, the disadvantaged. This is particularly true now as we all see, yet again, the value our neighbours give to human life.
    It is their opinion that matters to me, not yours.

    @bigmike – I beg to disagree. Russian immigration has proved to be a windfall and I am pleased and proud to give sanctuary to Sudanese and Eritrean refugees and happily accept the Filipinos, Ghanains etc. who come here to work. Recent legislation is aimed at specific groups who unfortunately display a high propensity to engage in or support terror which we will obviously not tolerate.

  3. pabelmont says:

    The USSR was a “democracy”, at least for the members of the politburo or whoever, if any, were allowed to vote. Israel’s first act pretty well was to expel most of the non-Jewish population in 1948 and thereafter — until today — to deny these exiles the right to return to Israel. They lost their houses and lands — and VOTES. Israel refuses even today to consider allowing return to Israeli territory of these exiles from 1948 — and their numerous progeny — all of whom would today be Israeli citizens had the exiles of 1948 been allowed to remain.

    Some democracy! Their press freedom is perhaps better that that of the USA where unofficial censorship has made discussion of Israel/Palestine rare as vulture’s teeth.

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