Two government studies conducted in conjunction with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that “a job applicant with an Ashkenazi-sounding name has a 34 percent higher chance of being hired by an employer than a person with a Sephardi-sounding name applying for the same position. .. [and also that] over 22% of employers openly stated that they actively discriminate against applicants with Arab-sounding names.”
The Times of Israel, which reported these studies, has also just reported on a court decision which illustrates this situation. A man with a Sephardi-sounding last name, Michel Malka, who applied to the Israel Aerospace Industries for a paramedic position was refused hiring — the employer’s rep, when he received the resume, allegedly “responded by making a derogatory comment regarding Malka’s ethnicity, calling him an “ars.”
When he re-applied two months later having changed the name on his resume to Meir Malkiely, “a more generic-sounding Israeli name,” he received a call a few minutes later from the same individual who had earlier rejected him, who “enthusiastically explained about the position and asked him to begin work at IAI as soon as possible.”
The Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court found the rep guilty of unlawful discrimination, stating that his “instinctive initial response was in itself sufficient to incriminate him. The court added that the fact that [he] accepted Malka’s application after the name change served as further evidence of racial discrimination,” and issued an award in his favor of “NIS 50,000 ($14,000) to reimburse him for his grief.