Netanyahu denounces Arab-Israeli protests against nation-state law

Netanyahu posted footage on Twitter of protesters waving Palestinian flags, commenting, “No better testament to the necessity of the Nation-State law.”

By: World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several Israeli ministers denounced the Arab-Israeli protest against the recently passed nation-state law at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, during which protestors flew Palestinian flags and chanted slogans advocating a Palestinian state that would replace Israel.

“Last night, we received cogent testimony of the opposition to the existence of the State of Israel and the urgency of the nation-state law,” Netanyahu stated at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“Yesterday we saw PLO flags in the heart of Tel Aviv. We heard the calls: ‘With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine.’ Many of the demonstrators want to abrogate the Law of Return, cancel the national anthem, fold up our flag and cancel Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and turn it – as their spokespersons said – into an Israeli-Palestinian state, and others say: a state of all its citizens.”

Netanyahu continued, “It is for precisely this [reason] that we passed the nation-state law. We are proud of our state, our flag and our national anthem. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. The individual rights of its citizens are anchored very well in the basic laws and other laws. Now it is clearer than ever that the nation-state law is also necessary.”

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“The law is necessary in order to ensure the future of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. We passed this law and we will uphold it,” he concluded.

Several thousand members of Israel’s Arab minority led a protest in central Tel Aviv against the law they claim marginalizes the state’s non-Jewish citizens.

Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence defined the country as a Jewish and democratic state and the government says the recently passed bill merely enshrines the country’s existing character. Critics claim it undercuts Israel’s democratic values and sidelines the country’s non-Jewish population, and specifically the Arab community, which makes up 20 percent of the country and enjoys full citizenship rights while paradoxically identifying a Palestinian rather than Israel.

Netanyahu posted footage on Twitter of protesters waving the Palestinian flags. “No better testament to the necessity of the nation-state law,” he wrote.

Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev stated that it was unacceptable to have Palestinian flags flying in the center of Tel Aviv.

“The fact that the left has joined the Arabs is absurd, and I am sure that [late Prime Minister Yitzchak] Rabin would turn in his grave if he saw what had happened to Rabin Square,” she said.

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Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on Sunday that those demonstrating are seeking to abolish Israel’s Jewish character, adding that those who opposed the law are exhibiting elements of racism.

AP contributed to this report.