An Arab Muslim traveled through Israel and wrote
Another Israeli Arab informed me that Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights. In fact, Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. In contrast to the non-Israeli Arab world, Arab women in Israel enjoy the same status as men. Muslim women have the right to vote and to be elected to public office. Muslim women, in fact are more liberated in Israel than in any Muslim country. Israeli law prohibits polygamy, child marriage, and the barbarity of female sexual mutilation.
Moreover, I found out that there are no incidences of honor killings in Israel. The status of Muslim women in Israel is far above that of any country in the region. Israeli health standards are by far the highest in the Middle East and Israeli health institutions are freely open to all Arabs, on the same basis as they are to Jews.
Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel and underlines the tolerant nature of the Jewish State. All the street signs call out their names in Arabic alongside Hebrew. It is official policy of the Israeli government to foster the language, culture, and traditions of the Arab minority, in the educational system and in daily life. Israel's Arabic press is the most vibrant and independent of any country in the region. There are more than 20 Arabic periodicals. They publish what they please, subject only to the same military censorship as Jewish publications. There are daily TV and radio programs in Arabic.
Arabic is taught in Jewish secondary schools. More than 350,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel's founding, there was one Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools. Israeli universities are renowned centers of learning in the history and literature of the Arab Middle East.
Aware of the constraints that a non-Wahhabi is faced with while performing religious rituals in Saudi Arabia, Kiran (my wife) could not hide her surprise at the freedoms and ease with which peoples of all religions and faiths were carrying out their religious obligations at the Church of the holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb, Sea of Galilee, newly discovered Western Wall Tunnels, Western Wall, tomb of King David and all the other holy places we visited.
All religious communities in Israel enjoy the full protection of the State. Israeli Arabs --Muslims, as well as many Christian denominations -- are free to exercise their faiths, to observe their own weekly day of rest and holidays and to administer their own internal affairs. Some 80,000 Druze live in 22 villages in northern Israel. Their religion is not accessible to outsiders and Druze constitute a separate cultural, social and religious Arabic-speaking community. The Druze concept of taqiyya calls for complete loyalty by its adherents to the government of the country in which they reside. As such, among other things, the Druze serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Each religious community in Israel has its own religious councils and courts, and has full jurisdiction over religious affairs, including matters of personal status, such as marriage and divorce. The holy sites of all religions are administered by their own authorities and protected by the government.
The big houses owned by Arab Israelis and the amount of construction that was going on in the Arab towns exposed the falsity of propaganda that Israel discriminates against Israeli Arabs from buying lands. I found out that in the early part of the century, the Jewish National Fund was established by the World Zionist Congress to purchase land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Of the total area of Israel, 92 percent belongs to the State and is managed by the Land Management Authority. It is not for sale to anyone, Jew or Arab.