Opposition to Israel nation-state law grows

Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System

Opposition to Israel nation-state law grows

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel also filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice against the Nationality Law, calling it a bid to progress "ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies".

Regarding the collective rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the status of the Arabic language, attorneys argue in the petition that "the Nation-State Law - in violation of global law - does not recognize any collective right of the Arabs as a homeland minority, as opposed to enshrining broad exclusive collective rights for the Jewish population, as if Jews were a minority requiring special protection".

Ma'an reported that, according to the Times of Israel, during an interview with the official Israeli Army Radio, Shaked said that the Israeli High Court has no right to strike down the law on constitutional grounds, because it was passed as a Basic Law.

Meanwhile, the Arabic language will receive a "special status" as Israel's second official language. Meanwhile, supporters believe it ensures the Jewish character of the state for generations to come.

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Arab citizens account for some 21 percent of Israel's more than 8.8 million population; they have equal voting rights, freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly, but many have long complained of discrimination.

The petition says that the law is "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights and contravenes worldwide human rights norms, especially those forbidding laws that constitute a racist constitution".

The law has faced a lot of criticism both inside and outside of Israel.

"The accusations about the new law's effects on Israeli democracy have no connection to the actual content or context of the law", Sara Greenberg wrote in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post.

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Shaked said that the law does not harm minorities but added that measures should be taken to "deal with the pain of the Druze community". The law, however, would not require making state services accessible in Arabic.

Thus to argue that the nation-state law is undemocratic because it doesn't mention equality or minority rights is like arguing that the U.S. Constitution is undemocratic because Articles I and II confer broad powers on the legislature and executive without mentioning the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

On Sunday, two Bedouin former IDF officers also called on the High Court to either change the formulation of the law so it applies equally to all Israelis or abolish it completely.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advisor for world communities said in an op-ed that critics of the nation-state law that passed last month in the Knesset often are "mistaken and misinformed".

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