Israel Fosters Peace and Democracy in Mideast

    The annual report of the most respected of these NGOs, Freedom House International, consistently designates only one Mideast country as providing its citizens full freedom. That country is Israel. Similarly, other NGOs such as Democracy Ranking, Carleton University’s Country Indicators for Foreign Policy, World Democracy Audit and others all put Israel far ahead of all her Muslim neighbors in all categories including gender equality, freedom of press, religious freedom, access to justice, political freedom, etc. 

    In fact many of Israel’s neighbors including Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia populate the list of countries that are the greatest violators of human rights. Smith should stop to ponder what this means — that among the 350 million Arabs in the Mideast, the ones who enjoy the greatest freedoms are the 1.5 million Arabs that happen to live as citizens of Israel.

     No surprise then that polls of Israeli Arabs consistently reveal that, despite the challenges they face as a minority, an overwhelming majority of them would choose to continue living in Israel over any other Arab country in the region, including a future independent Palestinian state.  If he really wants to encourage peace and democracy in the region, Smith should work to encourage other countries in the Mideast to model Israel’s democratic ideals.

    —Shlomo Dubnov
    Professor, Department of Music

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