Opposition to Israel nation-state law grows

Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System

"MK Ahmad Tibi said the law only served to widen the divide between the rights of Israel's Jews versus those of non-Jews, adding that "'there is only one mention of Arabs in this law, and it's negative-canceling the status of the Arabic language".

Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Opponents say the law legitimizes discrimination against Israeli Arabs, who make up roughly 20 percent of the population.

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 worldwide law.

The nation-state law passed by the Knesset July 19 for the first time enshrines Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people", and says "the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people".

Adalah lawyers also argued that the Jewish nation-state law negates the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in violation of the United Nations charter, and that the law's application to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights also stands in violation of global law, which specifies that these areas are occupied by Israel.

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

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Protesters wave Israeli and Druze flags at a demonstration in Tel Aviv against the nation-state law, on August 4, 2018. "For Netanyahu, we are second-class citizens, not equal members in a democracy that works for the benefit of all its citizens".

In an interview on Monday with Army Radio, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked warned of an "earthquake" if the high court attempts to overturns the law, saying that the Supreme Court does not have the authority strike down a Basic Law on constitutional grounds. It is at least the thirds challenge filed with the Supreme Court over the law.

Some of the criticism [of the law] is justified; a law that manages to unite virtually the entire Druze community against it, despite this community's longstanding support for Israel as a Jewish state in principle, clearly wasn't drafted with sufficient care, as even the heads of two parties that backed the law-Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett and Kulanu's Moshe Kaḥlon-now admit.

"The Nation-State Law prevents, for example, the exploitation of the family reunification clause under which very, very many Palestinians have been absorbed into the country", he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

The legislation defines Israel as a "Jewish nation-state" with a "united Jerusalem" as its capital.

"The real question is who is for and who is against the Declaration of Independence, and why is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the Declaration of Independence?"

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