The Shmooze

Officials: Israeli Light Rail Survey Is Racist

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

Dear New Yorkers:

We’re expanding the subway. It’ll pass through some bad neighborhoods. And we’re allowing Muslim-Americans to ride without security checks. Is that OK?

It sounds outrageous, but an Israeli company asked a very similar question of Jerusalemites after it won a city contract to run the city’s light rail system.

Haaretz reported today that Israeli Transportation Ministry officials are slamming the consortium known as CityPass for asking the following of Jerusalem residents: “There are three stops in Shuafat; Does this bother you?” and “All passengers, Jews and Arabs, can enter the train freely, without undergoing a security check. Does this bother you?” Shuafat is the Arab neighborhood in the city’s northeast.

Furious city officials called the questions “racist,” according to Haaretz; Jerusalem municipal director general Yair Maayan fumed in a letter to CityPass’ chairman that “we were flabbergasted to see how a private commercial consortium dared to address these subjects, which are none of its business whatsoever; to ask such racist questions and to arouse strife and contention in the city.”

CityPass, however, remained defiant. A spokesperson told Haaretz, rather disingenuously: “It is a shame that the municipal director general attributed totally unfounded significance to the survey, whose only aim was to improve the service to all the residents.

“This merely adds unnecessary fuel to the fire and certainly does not serve the interests of the city’s residents. The survey was not meant to offend any residents, and we shall change it accordingly.” But the episode must have already sent a chill through prospective passengers who don’t fit CityPass’ criteria for “security.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jews, Jerusalem, Israel, CityPass, Arabs, Light Rail, Shuafat

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.