West Jerusalem IES Office Turning East Jerusalemites Away
About a year ago, the state informed the High Court of Justice that it would allow new people seeking employment from East Jerusalem to apply and use the services at the Israeli Employment Services (IES) offices in West Jerusalem. This announcement was made during a lawsuit proceedings about the overcrowding and strain at IES offices in Wadi Al-Joz. ACRI checked on the offices to evaluate if this promise was being kept. It was clear that the IES office in West Jerusalem has ignored the directive, as officials turned applicants back to the Wadi Al-Joz office. Additionally, the nation-wide IES calling center has not been updated with this directive, nor has the Hebrew- or Arabic-language websites. A representative from Ma’an- a workers’ rights organization- accompanied a number of Palestinian applications to IES offices in the western part of the city. Officials only agreed to sit with them after the group had insisted on the implementation of the new directive. The Ma’an representative even had to serve as the translator, as there were no Arabic-speaking officials at the office.
On 1.8.2019 ACRI, in the name of Ma’an, appealed to the director of IES offices on Jaffa street in Jerusalem. We requested that they: direct IES workers to accept requests from new East Jerusalemite applicants seeking employment; publicize the new directive in Arabic and in Hebrew in both offices in Jerusalem; hire IES officials who speak Arabic or ensure professional translators are available; rectify the information on the website and inform the national service about the directive. ACRI Adv. Abir Joubran Dakwar highlighted that forcing job seekers from East Jerusalem to use only the IES offices in Wadi Al-Joz is a form of discrimination on ethnic basis, violates the principle of equality, and violates the right to dignity and access basic state services. Similarly, giving partial and inaccessible service to Arabic speaking applicants who demand their right to be served in the western office violates their rights to dignity, work, and return to a state of employment.