Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Feeling sidelined, Israel’s Druze protest Jewish nation bill

The 17th edition of Gay Pride in the holy city was held under heavy police surveillance the murder of a 16-year-old Feeling sidelined, Israel’s Druze protest Jewish nation bill
Charlie Simmons | 06 August, 2018, 00:03

Minorities and many Jewish Israelis alike have criticized the law, adopted last month, for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and saying "the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people".

Without the Nationality Law it is impossible to guarantee for generations that Israel will remain a Jewish state, the prime minister declared.

Participants included newly-appointed Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and senior figures from the Druze community.

Individual rights, Netanyahu said, are anchored in numerous Jewish state's (existing) laws, but not so Jewish national rights.

"This is the homeland state of the Jews", Middle East expert Reuven Berko told RT, noting that no one in Europe protests against crosses on national flags. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, said on Twitter that a special law needs to be passed for what he called the "Druze brothers", adding that it was "not our intention" to hurt them.

They also demanded a court order be issued that would instruct the Knesset and government to explain why the law should not be repealed, and in the event that it is not repealed, why it should not be amended to ensure equality for all citizens of israel.

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Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amal Assad said, "I call on all citizens of Israel to stand by us for the sake of the covenant of life and the unity between us".

The deep bond between the Druze community and our commitment to it are also essential; therefore, today we will establish a special ministerial committee to advance this bond and this commitment and at the same time will appreciate those of all religions and all ethnic communities who serve in the IDF and the security forces.

"Despite our unlimited loyalty to the state, the state doesn't consider us equals", the community's top spiritual leader in Israel, Sheikh Muafak Tarif, said in his speech at Saturday night's rally. The law's passage made it one of Israel's Basic Laws, which, similar to a constitution, underpin Israel's legal system and are more hard to repeal than regular laws.

In a sign of growing anger over the law, two Druze officers in the Israeli military threatened to resign.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the controversial legislation after a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

The Druze serve in the military, unlike most of the country's Arab citizens, who overwhelmingly follow Sunni Islam and have close family ties with Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories. Asad, who was part of the meetings, told Israel's YNET news that Netanyahu refused to sit with someone who accused the Israeli leader of running an apartheid state. The possibility still exists of unity around the Declaration of Independence instead of this Nation State law.

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