"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over the past few weeks, since the beginning of the fighting between Israel and Hamas, I have been watching demonstrations on TV from all over the world of people supporting Hamas and condemning Israel. Looking at the faces of the people from the West, I could not avoid wondering who they are and what their beliefs are? How much do they know about Hamas and Israel and what made them take a side in this conflict? In this post I'm about to uncover several topics, which I believe are important in western society and compare how they are manifested by these two entities: Israel and Hamas. I hope the following information would help to shed some new light on the conflict.
Democracy and Human Rights
Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East. It is the most liberal country in the region, with a unique Supreme court of Justice that has the power to intervene in both government and military operations. You will read more about this democracy next on this page.
I will let you decide how democratic Hamas is, and how much it cares for human rights, just keep on reading and watching the videos attached.
Freedom of Religion
Israel is a Jewish state that respects all minorities and their beliefs. The history of persecution of the Jewish people, made them very sensitive to respect and protect other faiths. In 1967, when Israel conquered East Jerusalem from the Jordanians, the Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan, handed the Muslim waqf the authority to manage the Dome of the Rock out of respect to the Muslim religion and despite the fact that those people had just fought against Israel. Israel's declaration of independence guarantees that the government will "uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens without distinction of race, creed and sex." Currently 1.8 million people in Israel are not Jews. They are all free to practice their religion, some of these minorities also serve in the military. The Bahai world center is located in Israel.
Minorities in the Palestinian authority and especially in Gaza, under Hamas regime, do not enjoy freedom of religion. In his book The Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society (2005) Professor Justus Reid Weiner provides an in-depth look into the nearly uninterrupted persecution of Christians throughout the decade since the Oslo peace process began. Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 many Christians fled the strip for fear of their lives.
Women enjoy equal rights, equal opportunities, and freedom in Israel, no matter to which faith they belong. Women serve in the military. Golda Meir was elected to be the first woman Prime Minister in Israel in 1969 and was the third female PM in the world. The current Knesset is comprised of 23% women (In comparison to 6.4% in the Arab world and 17.6% in the EU). Among the women in the Knesset one Arab Woman, Haneen Zoabi, who has been provoking the country with her anti Israeli statements and actions for years. 31% of Israel's top 100 company directors are women. Israeli Ada Yonath is the first female scientist from the Middle East to win the Noble Prize in the sciences. Israel has women in every field of work and self expression.
Since Israel left the Palestinian territory, "Honor killing" of women has been on the rise. Women are killed by their family members when they suspect them of having premarital sexual relations or committing adultery. Since Hamas took over Gaza more restrictive rules have been imposed on women: women were ordered to cover their hair and to dress modestly. Hamas also banned girls from riding behind men on motor scooters and forbade women from dancing.
Lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgenders (LGBT) in Israel have more rights and are most accepted than anywhere else in the Middle East and Asia. Israel was the first country in Asia to recognize same sex marriages. Same-sex couples are also allowed to jointly adopt children. The Israeli military is one of the world's top LGBT friendly organizations. The Israeli national healthcare insurance covers transgender surgeries from the age of 18. One of the famous transgenders in Israel is the singer Dana International who also won the Eurovision contest in 1998 when representing Israel with her song Diva.
Homosexuality is not officially illegal in the Palestinian Territories, but it's not a friendly environment for the LGBT community either. Homosexuals suffer persecutions, arrests and torture by the authorities both in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas declared that Homosexuality should be punishable by death. Here is a story of a young Palestinian who spent 3 years in Palestinian jail because of his homosexuality.
There are 2.2 million children in Israel (0-18). There is a system of laws and jurisdiction entities, and independent organizations that are responsible for the welfare of children in Israel. Some organizations are: The Israel National Council for the Child, to protect children's right, Elem, for youth at risk, and Israel Gay Youth, aims for LGBTQ youth. In the Jewish culture a child's life is considered to be precious, since they are the future and the carriers of the culture. This social approach to children is obvious in the country where many aspects of it are designed to cater to children. Fertility treatments are free, parents enjoy 3 months of maternity leave, in which the couple is free to choose which one of them will take it. Education is free and Social Services get involved if there is concern about the well being of a child. Israel extends its child care to children from neighboring countries, including unfriendly countries, by bringing sick children in for medical treatment. Save the Child's Heart is an Israeli organization that brings children from foreign countries to Israel who need heart surgery.
aims for LGBTQ teenagers
aims for LGBTQ teenagersHAMAS:
From childhood Hamas brainwashes Palestinian children with hatred to Israelis and Jews. The only reality they are taught to desire is to be martyrs and to kill the "enemy". Mossab Hassan Yousef, a Palestinian and son of a Hamas founder and leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, the writer of Son on Hamas, explains this reality best. Several of Hamas actions prove that the organization does not care about children: 160 children died while digging the terror tunnels, they use children as human shield, and they hide rockets in schools. Journalists in Gaza are not at liberty to reveal Hamas violations of human rights, but the truth slowly reveals itself as journalists leave the strip.
There are several organizations in Israel that fight for animal rights: Anonymous, CHAI, NOAH, Shevi, Let Live, Israel Union Against Animal Testing, Pegasus, and The Israel Animal Defense Force. Due to the activities of these organizations several laws were constituted on behalf of animal rights in the country. In August 2003 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that force-feeding of geese and ducks is illegal. Israel is one of the world's major producers of foie gras. In January 2013, the government stated that "Israel will no longer allow the import and sale of cosmetics, toiletries, or detergents that were tested on animals."Israel is among the most vegan friendly countries in the world: 5% of the population is vegan and 8.5% of the population is vegetarian. After India, Israel is the most vegetarian country in the world.
The pictures of the cruel slaughter of cattle in Gaza in 2013 was shocking to the world. In the video you can also see children witnessing and taking part in the killing. Hamas has been using animals for suicidal missions against Israel. There was a recent incident when a donkey was released in the direction of Israeli soldiers carrying explosives, this is only one in several incidents where Hamas used donkeys and dogs as suicide bombers.
Israel is poor in natural resources but rich with human resources. Education has always been the country's top priority and the results are shown. Israel is a Hi-Tech superpower, it has advanced medicine, technology, and scientific research. From the 12 Nobel Prizes Israel has won, 8 were in the sciences. Israel has a rich cultural life, many citizens made an international name in their fields such as: actor Haim Topol, conductor Daniel Barenboim, opera singer Dudu Fisher, dancer and choreograph Ohad Naharin, actress Gal Gadot, super model Bar Rafaeli, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Despite its size Israel is among the first countries to send humanitarian aid to disaster areas: 1998 Kenya, 1999 Kosovo, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, 2005 Haiti, and 2011 Japan are only a few of the cases when Israel hurried to offer relief efforts. IsraAID is an Israeli non government global humanitarian organization. Since Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, it has been continuously supplying the Gaza strip with humanitarian aid, water, and electricity, despite the fact that Hamas has been launching missiles towards the Israeli population. Hamas used the cement Israel provided, as part of the humanitarian aid, to build tunnels for attacking Israel instead of for building civilian infrastructure, as was originally intended.
Before you decide to support Hamas, please ask yourself:
- Do you support the destruction of western democratic values?
- Do you support the violation of human rights?
- Do you support the oppression of women?
- Do you support the oppression of LGBT?
- Do you support persecution of minorities?
- Do you support child abuse?
- Do you support animal cruelty?
Listen to Hamas leaders' declarations and decide for yourself if the west should support such an entity: