Haifa Court Authorizes Discriminatory Housing Ads

Houses in Acre (via WikiCommons)

The Haifa District Court rejected a petition, filed by ACRI and others, regarding discrimination in housing in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Acre. The petition requested the cancellation of a recent housing tender, issued by the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), because the advertisements of the two associations that won this tender suggest that they are marketing the property exclusively to religious Jews. The petition was rejected because, according to the court, it was not established that the associations in fact discriminated against someone.
The petition was filed on 14 March 2012 by attorney Gil Gan-Mor, Director of ACRI’s Right to Housing Project, together with the Al-Yater Association for the Social and Cultural Development of Acre and the Human Rights Legal Clinics at the University of Haifa. The petitioners claimed that the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) is obligated to ensure that state lands that it offers in housing tenders be marketed to the entire Israeli public without discrimination, and that the ILA is not relieved of this obligation by transferring the lands to a third party, including by means of a tender. Furthermore, the tender itself included a specific clause stating that the winner of the tender is forbidden from wrongful discrimination in marketing the apartments. If this should happen, states the clause, the ILA would be authorized to cancel the contract with the winner of the tender. The petitioners noted that, as the marketing of the apartments was done on the basis of religion and nationality – it constitutes wrongful discrimination.
As stated above, the Haifa District Court rejected the petition on the grounds that it was not established that the associations de facto discriminated against someone. However, the judge did accept the principled claim that the ILA must monitor the marketing of the real estate to ensure that it is not discriminatory, even when the marketing is carried out by private companies that won its tenders.
The petition (Hebrew)

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, Housing Rights, Racism and Discrimination, Social and Economic Rights, The Right to Equality

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