Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Critics of nation-state law 'mistaken and misinformed,' Netanyahu advisor says

Critics of nation-state law 'mistaken and misinformed,' Netanyahu advisor says

Israeli Arab leaders on Tuesday filed a almost 60-page-long petition against the newly enacted Jewish Nation-State law, calling the legislation "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights" and in contradiction to global law.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against the nation-state law in Rabin Square on August 4, 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The petition argued that by declaring Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people alone, the law excludes the rights of its Arab citizens who make up around 20 percent of the population.

Tuesday's statement from Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, says the law "has distinct apartheid characteristics" and denies "civil and national rights of Palestinians in their homeland". The law states that "the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people".

Livni apologized to members of the Druze community "not just for the problematic and discriminatory law, but for the fact that he (Netanyahu) didn't bother showing up here for the discussion, to talk, to stand here and give the answers he owes not just you, the Druze community, but to the entire State of Israel".

The petition says that the law is "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights and contravenes global human rights norms, especially those forbidding laws that constitute a racist constitution".

Ma'an reported that, according to the Times of Israel, during an interview with the official Israeli Army Radio, Shaked said that the Israeli High Court has no right to strike down the law on constitutional grounds, because it was passed as a Basic Law.


But critics, both at home and overseas, say it undermines Israel's commitment to equality for all its citizens outlined in the constitution. There are also two Basic Laws on human rights, both of which explicitly define Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state.".

The plenum on "The nation-state law and the harm it does to the values of equality and democracy" was called by the opposition after successfully obtaining the necessary 25 Knesset member (MK) signatures.

"The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people".

Tens of thousands of Druze Israelis, along with Jewish supporters, thronged a Tel Aviv square on Saturday night in a rare demonstration against government policy by the typically muted community.

The Israeli High Court has made no moves to overturn Basic Law legislation to date, prompting fears that the petitions will achieve little more than media coverage.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended a law which has outraged Israel's Druze minority, saying it would help prevent Palestinians and illegal migrants from seeking Israeli citizenship. It is at least the thirds challenge filed with the Supreme Court over the law.

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