Israel's version of the Yellow Pages allows businesses to advertise Jewish-only labor in its phone directories, according to a complaint filed by a local umbrella group for civil rights organizations.
The group, Shutafut-Sharakah, approached the Israel Golden Pages (Dapey Zahav ) CEO, Nir Lampert, with a request to remove from the directory businesses that advertise "avodah Ivrit" or Hebrew labor, and to refrain from letting them advertise in the future.
According to the group, even if these businesses do not specifically say so, it is clear that they discriminate against Arabs.
The forum also contacted the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's supervisor of labor laws, Koby Suweid, and asked him to step in.
A Haaretz survey of several of the businesses offering Jewish labor found that they offer their customers the option of choosing Jewish labor exclusively.
However, businesses noted that they also employ Arabs.
"If you specify, Jewish labor, then yes, only Jews will come," said a representative of Beitar Moving, which operates in the Beit Shemesh area.
A representative of A.S. Plumbing, which also operates there, said in a conversation with Haaretz that only Jewish laborers will be dispatched to the home of a customer who requests it.
Ron Gerlitz, the co-executive director of Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, is leading the effort against the directory.
According to him, the yellow pages cannot avoid responsibility for the content of the ads: "This is a really terrible thing. The Arab citizen who sees 'avodah Ivrit,' what does he understand from this? 'They don't want me here,'" he said.
Shutafut-Sharakah launched an Internet campaign in an attempt to pressure the Golden Pages to remove the ads. At the same time, they are also considering legal action.
"The mere statement by business owners, employers that they are 'free' of everything that is non-Jewish, this means that they are violating the equal employment opportunity law," said attorney Sawsan Zaher, the director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights. According to her, the Golden Pages also bears responsibility.
Golden Pages said in response that the phone directory never had and does not have a category for "Avoda Ivrit" or "Blue and White."
"The Golden Pages directory includes people and companies registered under those names with the Justice Ministry's Registrar of companies, and some that added those words to their commercial name, or to the content of the ad they chose. The Golden Pages itself as the publisher of phone directories has nothing to do with the use of these terms. If there are indeed businesses that in practice intentionally refrain from employing members of minorities, in order to employ Jews exclusively, this a racist act that is contrary to the law and Golden Pages denounces it."