Israel To Pass “Segregation” Bill That Authorises Establishment Of Jewish-Only Communities
“Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people” bill would enshrine the country’s Jewish national and religious character into law.

Israel’s right-wing party Likud seeks to pass legislation that will allow Jewish religious law to be implemented in certain cases and also remove Arabic as an official language, which critics condemned as the end of a democratic state.

Following an intensive round of talks between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, an agreement has been reached regarding the contentious clause of the nationality bill which authorises the establishment of Jewish-only communities.

Bennett and Netanyahu agree to amend details of controversial article 7, which will be brought before the Joint Committee of the Nationality Bill for approval Monday, prior to a vote in the Knesset. The so-called Jewish State bill allowed for excluding citizens from communities based on their nationality or religion; amended version sees Jewish community development “as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment.”

“In the Israeli democracy, we will continue to protect the rights of both the individual and the group, this is guaranteed. But the majority have rights too, and the majority rules,” Netanyahu said this week.

An earlier version, drafted by the Ministerial Liaison to the Knesset and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, said: “The state will encourage, establish, and strengthen Jewish settlement in a way that will make clear that encouraging Jewish settlement is a legitimate way of implementing the Zionist vision and is not unacceptable, discrimination or inequality.”

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Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the bill would “remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance”.

Thousands of demonstrators took to streets in Tel Aviv Saturday night to protest against a controversial Jewish nation-state bill. Critics warned that this section will permit the exclusion of various populations and allow the establishment of Jewish settlements and communities only.

The controversial bill also addresses state symbols, including the national anthem, flag, icon, Jerusalem as the capital of the state, and the Hebrew language as the official language of Israel. Critics say the clause is an effort to legalise housing discrimination against a wide array of minorities and subgroups, including Arabs, Mizrahi and Ethiopian Jews, gays, divorced women and others.

The protest was organised by a broad alliance of progressive Jewish groups, LGBT activists, and left-wing NGOs, with more than 2,500 people calling on the Israeli government to scrap not only the clause on separate communities but the entire proposal.

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