Fear of Harming the Unit for Coordinating the Fight Against Racism
Recently, the Head of the Unit for Coordinating the Fight against Racism in the Ministry of Justice, Adv. Aveka Zana, received a notice about the termination of his tenure after six years, although such positions are typically extended for an eight-year term. This decision was made, to the best of our knowledge, with the support of the Minister of Justice, David Amsalem.
On July 25, 2023, we addressed (Hebrew) the Legal Advisor to the Government with a request to freeze all proceedings concerning the unit and its head until a thorough examination of the decisions and considerations made regarding the termination of the head's tenure is conducted.
In the request, Adv. Gil Gan-Mor, the Director of the Units for Civil and Social Rights, emphasized that the role of the head of the unit in the fight against racism is professional and not political, and it is not a position of trust. It is a role that requires special protection of its independence since the head of the unit serves as a threshold guardian and must stand against elected officials and senior public servants who engage in racism or express themselves in a discriminatory manner. He noted that against the backdrop of the government's declared racist policy, there is a concern that the motivation behind the decision to terminate Zana's tenure is to weaken the unit or appoint a more "compliant" head.
"It is difficult to dissociate [the decision] from the extreme influences emanating from the government and the factors that impact the government, which describe public servants- who diligently perform their duties- as 'unfaithful' to the government and as those who are desirable to be removed," the request stated. It stressed the importance of ensuring that the unit continues to maintain its independent status and full freedom of action.
Appeal of the Association for Civil Rights, 7/25/2023 (Hebrew)