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The High Court of Justice Criticized the Barzilai Medical Center’s Entry Security Procedure

Photo by Muhannad Anati, ACRI

This morning (27.1.2020) the High Court of Justice (HCJ) heard a joint appeal submitted by ACRI and Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) on their behalf, as well as in the name of Physicians for Human Rights and the Israeli Racism Crisis Center of the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center. The appeal demanded the cessation of the discriminatory and racist security check procedure on the Dan Badarom Bus Company route that passes through the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

The appeal was filed after it came to light that security guards were stopping buses at the entrance to the hospital, and demanding anyone of an “Arab appearance” to present their identity card. If those in question were indeed Arabs who did not have Israeli citizenship, they were forced to disembark from the bus and wait outside of the hospital gate until the bus completed its route through the hospital. The appeal claimed that this racist profiling of Arab passengers on the bus is a humiliating and degrading experience, in which a person is designated dangerous solely because of their national and ethnic identity.

The presiding Justices, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, Justice Uzi Vogelman, and Justice Menachem “Meni” Mazuz, criticized the conduct of the security staff. Following the state’s presentation of a confidential interim procedure to the Justices, Chief Justice Hayut stated that “the designation of suspects, from which these difficulties arose, has been removed from the procedure,” and the current designation of suspects is “neutral.” She in turn subtly suggests that the previous security procedure included racial profiling. Nonetheless, she added that the security procedure does not include the word “Arab.”

The court instructed the state to provide an update within 90 days on progress made toward the formation of a permanent procedure free of any improper and racial profiling.

ACRI Attorney Anne Suciu and Adalah Attorney Sari Arraf, who submitted the appeal: “Alongside the success in stopping this particular practice at Barzilai Hospital, the court is expected to discuss secret procedures to ensure that racial profiling ceases. The struggle against profiling will continue so long as definitive norms are not established to mandate that neither the state nor any of its representatives may discriminate between human beings on the basis of their origin.”

HCJ 6097/19

Attornies Anne Suciu (ACRI) and Sari Arraf (Adalah)

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