Israeli Arabs petition High Court against nation-state law

Israeli Arabs petitioned the High Court against the nation-state law, marking the sixth such appeal.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Four Arab-Israeli groups have filed a joint petition at the High Court of Justice against the nation-state law, Kan News reported Tuesday, noting that it was the sixth such filing since the legislation was passed on July 19.

The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an extra-parliamentary umbrella organization that unofficially represents Arab Israelis at the national level; the head of the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Localities (NCALC); the Adalah Arab rights organization and the Joint List party joined together to claim that the law endangers minority rights.

By enshrining Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” in which only Jews have the “right to exercise national self-determination,” the law negates “the Palestinian nation [having] any right to national self-determination in its national homeland,” the petitioners stated. The law is “racist and exclusionary” and therefore should be repealed, they claimed.

Moreover, they charged, “The principles of exclusion, discrimination, separation and Jewish supremacy are interwoven in all sections of the law.”

According to their view, the law also justifies, encourages and establishes “racist discrimination” in many areas, including the allocation of land, housing policy, and the budget of local authorities, among other things, says the report.

The seventh clause of the law particularly enraged the petitioners. It states: “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”

Charging that “the state is turning itself into a Zionist settlement body,” the organizations called the clause “racist and colonialist” in concept, and compared it to South Africa’s apartheid legislation.

On Sunday, addressing the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that passage of the nation-state law would not hurt minority rights in Israel.

“The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu stated. “Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Individual rights are anchored in many laws, including Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

“Nobody has harmed – and nobody intends to harm – these individual rights,” he declared.

“Without the nation-state law it will be impossible to ensure for [future] generations the future of Israel as a Jewish national state,” he added.

A poll taken last week by Walla news indicates that most Israelis support the newly passed nation-state law, with 58 percent agreeing with the current language and 34 percent opposed to it.