Israeli Minister: 'I'd Ship All Arabs to Switzerland if Possible'

Published June 15th, 2022 - 08:56 GMT
Israeli minister ship arabs
Israel's Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana caused uproar by his recent statements. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)
Matan Kahana served as a pilot during several Israeli offensives against Gaza in addition to the 2006 war on Lebanon.

A statement by Israel's Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana has stirred condemnation after saying he wishes he could get rid of Arab Palestinians in Israel.

In his remarks before a group of male students at a religious high school in Efrat illegal settlement in the West Bank, Matan Kahana said he wished "there was a button I could press that would take all the Arabs and put them on a train to Switzerland, I would. A button like that does not exist."

The comments were taped on video by one of the students and shared on Twitter by the political correspondent at the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation Kaan, prompting a variety of responses among social media users, including Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers.

Most reactions perceived Matan Kahana's remarks as racist and exclusionary of Palestinians, while some people considered it a wish for genocide to end the Palestinian presence. 

Some social media users also linked his comments to Israeli policies against Palestinians, ones that have caused several international human rights organizations to categorize them as the crime of Aparthied.

Online voices also noted that the minister's remarks are not foreign to the Israeli public, as a recent survey found that 60% of Israelis are in favor of segregation against Arab Palestinians in the country.

Besides Israel's military occupation of the West Bank since June 1967, 20% of Israeli citizens are Arab Palestinians who did not leave their homes during the 1948 war, making up nearly 2 million people.

According to findings of human rights groups, Arab citizens of Israel do suffer discriminatory policies that reached a peak when the Israeli parliament passed the country's infamous nation-state law in May 2018, which regards Israel as a Jewish-only state and gives only the country's Jewish population the right to self-determination.

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