Controversial Jewish nation bill

ISRAEL’S Parliament approved a controversial piece of legislation on Thursday that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people but which critics warn sidelines minorities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called its passage a “historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the State of Israel”.
Opponents of the new bill say it marginalises the country’s Arab minority of around 20 percent and also downgrades Arabic language from official to ‘special’ standing. The bill has created unrest and sent a highly discouraging signal to Arabs who are describing it as evil and black law. Their sentiments were amply aired by Ayman Odeh, head of Arab Joint List, who remarked ‘Today, I will have to tell my children, along with all the children of Palestinian Arab towns […] that the state has declared that it does not want us here’. He is true as it is a law of Jewish supremacy and renders Arabs to the status of second class citizens. As far as the treatment being meted out to them is concerned, they are already second class citizens but now there would be constitutionally protected discrimination against them and they will never be equal citizens. Even many Israelis wondered why it was even necessary to legislate the country’s obvious character and questioned whether it would have any practical implication, beyond stoking domestic tension and drawing international criticism. Comments of Israel’s Army Radio ‘the moment we define that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people only, we establish for the courts that this is a constitutional value,’ unveils the real motives behind the move. Denial of equal rights to Arabs and their intentional alienation also exposes claims of the Jewish State that it is democratic in nature.

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