The Israeli Knesset has approved the ‘nation-state law’ that promotes Jewish-only settlements, downgrades Arab language status and limits the right to self-determination to Jews.
The racist law, which had been in the works since 2011, has sparked a wave of protests, which spilled over the Israeli border and angered the influential Jewish diaspora in the USA.
The controversial new law passed with 62 votes in favor and 55 against after hours of fierce argument and debate. It will now come into force as soon as it’s published in the Knesset’s Official Gazette.
The bill formally defines the main principles that should stand at the core of the Israeli state and its symbols, such as the flag, the anthem, its capital and language. The critics of the bill argue that such wording makes some 1.8 million Israeli Arabs, a quarter of the population, second-class citizens.
In a clause that set Arab lawmakers off, the bill explicitly states that “the right to exercises national determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
Another contentious clause strips the Arabic language of its official status, instead granting it “a special status” and leaving Hebrew as the only official state language.
At the center of the controversy is the part of the law aimed at promoting the “establishment and consolidation” of Jewish settlements, which is being castigated by the opposition as a shorthand for segregation bordering on apartheid.
The divisive nature of the new legislation that saw thousands of people, including Arabs and secular Jews flocking to streets in protest, has not stopped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from hailing its adoption as a huge success.
Arrogant and fascist minded Netanyahu brushed off all argument that the law prioritizes the rights of Jews at the expense of Arabs, touting the Jewish state as “the only (fake) democracy in the Middle East.”
But the Jewish community itself has been split about the law. Before it was adopted, 14 American Jewish organizations relayed their concerns to the incoming Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, who has been a vocal critic of the bill himself.
Herzog warned that while fostering the Jewish state, the law might deal a blow to democratic values.
RT.com / ABC Flash Point Apartheid News 2018.