Jerusalem Job Post for Arabic-speaking Students Bars 90% of Palestinian Applicants

Majority of East Jerusalem Palestinians are unable to apply for municipality job to provide services to own sector because they don't have Israeli citizenship

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Young Palestinian women walk around East Jerusalem in February.
Young Palestinian women walk around East Jerusalem in February.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Jerusalem’s call for Arabic-speaking students to apply for a job at the municipality bars about 90 percent of prospective applicants from applying because it requires Israeli citizenship.

Only an estimated 20,000 of 360,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War, have Israeli citizenship.

City officials said the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority was responsible for setting the policy, based on the fact that the job includes issuing identity cards and passports, which requires a security clearance. However, the authority denies requiring citizenship.

The job opening for Arabic-speaking students was issued on Sunday by the Strategy and Innovation Administration of the Jerusalem Municipality’s Authority for Quality of Service and exempts applicants from the usual formal vetting process.

The post includes dealing with public inquiries at the Population Authority office that is due to open at the Safra Square city hall complex. The first requirement listed for the job is an Israeli citizenship.

The position has existed since 2015 and was manned by students without citizenship in the past.

A spokesman for the city said that “there are no criteria for student jobs that prevent students without Israeli citizenship from holding them. However, student jobs at the Population Authority, like the one cited, require Israeli citizenship and a security check in accordance with Authority directives.” The spokesperson added that the municipality will consider dropping the citizenship requirement.

The Population Authority said in response that “first it should be made clear that the [job opening] announcement wasn’t made by the Population and Immigration Authority or by one of our employees. The authority doesn’t set citizenship as a criterion for job openings because the application process is conducted according to civil service rules.”

Attorney Nassrin Alian reached out to the municipality on behalf of The human rights clinic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and demanded the requirement be removed as it is a "violation of the basic rights of residents of the city who are not citizens."

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