New homeland law further marginalizes 1.8 million Palestinian citizens of Israel


Israel's parliament has passed a controversial law characterising the country as principally a Jewish state, fuelling anger among its Arab minority.

Days after Israeli government announced a legislation defining the nation as the state of Jewish people, Saudi Arabia on Saturday slammed the law terming it as "perpetuating racial discrimination" against Palestinians, news agency AFP reported.

Clauses that were dropped in last-minute political wrangling - and after objections by Israel's president and attorney general - would have enshrined in law the establishment of Jewish-only communities, and instructed courts to rule according to Jewish ritual law when there were no relevant legal precedents.

A number of Arab lawmakers ripped up copies of the bill as the law was passed, and they were removed from the chamber as a result.

"The law will also back discrimination against Arab citizens who can be legally prevented from residing in Jewish-only areas", Zahalka added.

Given the draconian nature of the bill, it is hardly surprising that it has invited widespread opprobrium, including from Qatar's Foreign Ministry which has expressed strong condemnation.

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Dichter hastened to add that their rights as minoriites would not be diminished by the law, but the (Arab) Joint List Coalition leader, Ayman Odeh answered Dichter by waving a black flag, while another faction member, Jamal Zahalka, showed his dissatisfaction by ripping up his copy of the bill.

Bennett stressed that the Israeli army should do this, pushing the army chief to say: "I disagree with you".

What is sadly lacking at this juncture is unity among the Arab and Islamic countries, which is being exploited by the state of Israel to continue its persecution of Palestinians without let or hindrance. If laws like the nation-state bill are barely passed today, what will pass in the Knesset in five, 10, 15 years? The Arabic language has received special status, which will allow for further use in public institutions.

A spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan called on the global community "to react to this injustice happening in front of the entire world's eyes".

The law had drawn criticism by a wide range of NGOs and rights groups as a racist bill that would divide the society.

Instead, a more vaguely-worded version was approved, which says: "The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment". He tells JNS that he "is all in favor of the idea of having a Jewish nation-state law". Not only is there "no right to equality" in the country, Israeli legislation "already privileges the protection of a "Jewish state" over equality for non-Jewish citizens".