Hanin Zuabi (Balad) and Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi)
MKs Hanin Zuabi (Balad) and Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) at a committee meeting on Nov. 9, 2010. Photo by Emil Salman
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A bill that would prohibit companies in Israel from discriminating against customers based on where they live is scheduled for debate today by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. While the draft law, sponsored by MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi ), would also apply to Arab communities in remote areas of Israel, it is aimed primarily at firms that refuse to deliver goods to or provide services to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, or which charge more for doing so.

Individuals who helped draft the bill said it could also help fight discrimination against cultural institutions, for example the call for performers to boycott the new theater in Ariel.

According to the bill's preamble, "Various organizations that provide goods or public services discriminate against wide swathes of the population ... on the basis of where they reside. Sometimes goods or services are not provided to populations of certain areas - such as Jewish communities in the West Bank or Arab villages in the periphery - and sometimes they are provided, but a higher price is demanded."

If passed, discrimination in providing goods or public services on the basis of place of residence would be rendered illegal. To be considered guilty of discriminating unlawfully on the basis of where a customer works or resides, a company would have to refuse to provide goods or services to a specific address under the same terms and conditions as it would refuse another location approximately the same distance from the company.