Israel Passes Controversial Law Reserving National Self-Determination For Jews
19 July, 2018, 15:39 | Author: Donnie King
Israel's parliament is set to vote on a controversial piece of legislation that would define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
"It is a decisive moment in the history of the state of Israel that inscribes in stone our language, our anthem and our flag", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the vote on the legislation, backed by his right-wing government.
The law, passed in the early hours of Thursday, speaks of Israel as the Jewish historical homeland and says Jews have the right to self-determination there.
The law downgrades Arabic so it is no longer an official language of Israel and declares that Jerusalem "complete and united" is the country's capital.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called its passage a "historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel".
Demonstrators attend a rally to protest against the Jewish "nation state" bill in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on July 14, 2018.
"Today, I will have to tell my children, along with all the children of Palestinian Arab towns. that the state has declared that it does not want us here", Odeh said in a statement later.
The bill would "remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance", Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in Israel's Haaretz newspaper last week.
"Such racist and prejudicial legislation is illegal by all standards of worldwide law, democracy, humanity, justice, tolerance, and inclusion", she said. Some Arab lawmakers shouted and ripped up papers after the vote.
Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel.
"This is an evil law", he said and added that "a black flag hovers over it".
Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List alliance in the Israeli parliament, also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.
"It has passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens", it said.
Israeli Arabs make up about 20% of the Israel's population of about nine million people.
Benny Begin, son of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, the founder of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, abstained from voting, warning of the party's growing disconnect from human rights.
"The law features key elements of apartheid, which is not only immoral but also absolutely prohibited under global law", said Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah, a Palestinian human rights organization in Israel.
"I really hope that we won't find the fine balance between a Jewish and democratic state to be hurt", he said.
'This is not a decision I expected from the Likud leadership, ' he said.
Instead, the law that passed on Thursday says that the Israeli state views "the development of Jewish settlements as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment".
Arab MP Ahmed Tibi said the bill's passing represented the "death of democracy".
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