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Druze MKs: 'Nationality law' discriminates against minorities

July 22, 2018 11:28 A.M. (Updated: July 28, 2018 12:19 P.M.)
BETHELEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three Druze members of the Israeli Knesset from three various political parties, appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court against the Nationality law, in coordination with the Druze Lawyers’ Forum and the heads of the local Circassian and Druze authorities in Israel.

The heads of the local Circassian and Druze authorities in Israel, said that the new Nationality legislation will perpetuate discrimination against non-Jewish minorities in Israel, and called upon the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forbid the legislation.

The Nationality law, initiated by MK Avi Dichter of the Likud, a right-wing political party, enshrines the status of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

The law includes legally preserving Israel's "democratic" character, its state symbols (national anthem, flag, icon), Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Hebrew as the official language and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry.

The approved law strips the Arabic language of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew language, receiving a “special status” as Israel's second official language, but the law would not require making state services accessible in Arabic.

The three Druze MKs were Akram Hasson, for the Kulanu party, Hamad Amar, from the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and Salah Saad, a member of the Zionist union party.

The MKs said that the legislation “fails to mention the role of the Druze and Circassian communities in Israel or ensure their rights.”

MK Akram Hasson said that "On Sunday morning, we will be the first to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court against the Nationality Law, after consultation with former lawyers and judges, all of whom assured us that the new law will not stand before the court."

In an interview with Israeli Maariv newspaper, MK Hasson asked “We have no problem with the Jewish people, nor do we have a problem with the State of Israel being the home of the Jewish people, but what about us? What about those who sacrificed for the establishment of the state and fought for it? What about the 420 martyrs and more than 1,200 wounded and disabled during their service in the Israeli army?”

He continued, “The law of nationalism makes us second-class citizens, even though we as citizens suffer discrimination in planning, construction, education, budgets, and other fields. Now they are enacting the law of nationalism that widens the gap between the minority on the one hand and the Jews on the other.”

In addition, a Druze soldier said that the Nationality law harms Arab, Bedouin, Druze, Christian and Circassian soldiers, and that as a soldier it is difficult to continue military service for Israel under such conditions.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Druze community has lost over 75% of its land since the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Druze communities, and local politicians and legal advisers, have warned that the legislation will allow further discrimination against any non-Jewish minorities in Israel, a country which claims itself to be the only "democracy" in the Middle East, and could cast a dark shadow over Israel internationally.

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