Israel to Hold Vote on ‘Jewish State Law’

Israel is largely ruled by a coalition of right-wing and ultra-nationalists. (Photo: File)

The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, is expected to advance the so-called “Jewish State bill” — also referred to as the “Nationality” or “Nation State bill” — next month according to Israeli media, amid ongoing controversies over the bill’s discrimination of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday that a committee established to promote the bill would be given two consecutive sessions next month, despite the Knesset being in recess during that time.

The bill declares that Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people,” and that “the right to realize self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

It would also revoke Arabic’s status as an official state language, despite 20 percent of Israeli citizens being Palestinians, and downgrading it to “special status in the state.”

According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wanted to put the bill up for a vote at the Knesset last month. However, its details have remained controversial and further discussions would necessitate “compromises” on the bill’s scope.

In May, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted unanimously to move the bill to a preliminary vote in the Knesset. According to Haaretz, since then the Israeli government has been unable to “formulate an agreed-upon version” of the bill.

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab Joint List, a coalition of political parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, denounced the bill on social media in May as “crushing the rights of minorities.”

“This Nationality bill is the tyranny of the majority, turning us into second-class citizens, and this time making it legal,” Odeh said.

Rights organization Adalah has tallied at least 76 Israeli laws that already discriminate between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, not to mention the various rights that are denied to Palestinians in the occupied territory, who are ruled under Israel’s military law.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)


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