The Israeli government is set to put forward its long-awaited “nation state” bill which legalizes race segregation between Jews and non-Jews, and which promotes “Jewish settlement” [in Palestinian territories] as a “national value.”
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
According to reports in the Israeli media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the Jewish state bill, saying that the Jews have “majority rights.”
“Most Israelis want to preserve the Jewish identity of the country, and that the majority rules,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying. “The vast majority of people want to preserve the Jewish character of our country for generations to come.”
Originally, one clause of the “Jewish state bill,” numbered 7B, said that the state was allowed to “authorize a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community.”
This clause has however been changed to replace it with a call for strengthening the Jewish presence in predominantly Arab Israeli areas.
The new version of clause 7B now reads: “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
The law will face a Knesset committee vote today before final plenary votes on the law ahead of the parliament’s summer recess on July 22, the Times of Israel reported.
If passed, the law would become one of the so-called Basic Laws, which like a constitution underpin Israel’s legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws.
Judaism is already mentioned throughout the country’s laws, and religious authorities control many aspects of life, including marriage. But the 11 existing Basic Laws deal mostly with state institutions like the Knesset, the courts and the presidency.
In addition, the law would also set Hebrew as the official language of Israel. Arabic would be removed as an official language in a clear snub to the remaining Palestinians in Israel—those who managed to survive the initial ethnic cleansing of that territory by the Jews.
The law would also declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, make explicit the connection between Diaspora Jewry and the state and fix the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of the state, as well as recognizing Independence Day, days of remembrance and Jewish holidays.