Israeli parliament passes law formally establishing country as Jewish nation-state
- The new basic law codifies a number of ultranationalist principles, including Hebrew as the sole national language, the expansion of Jewish settlement as a national priority, Jewish symbols as national symbols, and a unified Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.
- Previously, Israel existed formally as a multiethnic democratic state, with Arabic as the second national language and the concerns of Arab Israelis—who comprise a fifth of the population—at least nominally afforded equal weight in matters of national identity and self-determination.
- While some observers have dismissed the law as largely symbolic, Arab lawmakers and progressive advocates argue it provides the legal ground for segregation and discrimination and reduces ethnic and religious minorities to a second-class citizenship.
“Israel Passes Controversial Jewish Nation-state Bill After Stormy Debate” (Haaretz | July 2018)
“Israeli Law Declares the Country the ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’” (The New York Times | July 2018)
“Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state’ law” (Al Jazeera | July 2018)
Law to suspend legislators accused of terrorist sympathies passes first round in Israeli parliament
- Arab-Israeli and other opposition lawmakers fear the law will be used to silence opposition to anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian measures in the Israeli parliament.
- Tabled for two additional readings, the proposed law comes as PM Benjamin Netanyahu has indefinitely suspended the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by security forces after killing Israelis.
- Last month, three parliament members were suspended for supporting families of Palestinian assailants killed after attacking Israelis.
“Israeli law to allow suspension of Arab legislators passes first hurdle” (Reuters)
“Controversial MK suspension bill passes first Knesset reading” (The Times of Israel)
“Netanyahu Orders Defense Minister Not to Return Terrorists’ Bodies to Palestinian Authority” (Haaretz)
“Ethics C’tee suspends Arab MKs from Knesset discussions” (Ynetnews)
(Image Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90, via The Times of Israel)
Israel announces multibillion-shekel plan to improve living conditions of Israeli Arabs
- The government announced that 13 billion shekels ($3.3 billion) will be allocated towards education, infrastructure, culture, sports, and transportation over five years in predominantly Arab areas.
- Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, and lower educational achievement and attainment have long plagued Israel’s Arab minority, which comprises around a fifth of the total Israeli population.
- The Mossawa Center, an Arab advocacy organization, criticized the announcement as vague and far short of the funding requested to bring the living standards of Israel’s Arab citizens in line with its Jewish population.
“Israel to spend $3 billion more to improve living standards of Arab minority” (Reuters)
“Israel Seeks to Bring Arab Citizens Into Mainstream With Funds” (Bloomberg)
Several Israeli cities effectively bar Arab laborers from their jobs in schools as violence in the country grows
- Several municipalities including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Hod Hasharon, and Modiin-Maccabim-Reut prohibited school staff including maintenance workers, cleaners, and construction workers (most of whom are Arab) from going to work during school hours.
- To date, 41 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in recent weeks as cycles of revenge killings, protests, and state-driven violence continue.
- While Arab-Israeli politicians and NGOs denounced the restrictions as illegal and racist, the Interior Ministry called for respect and equality without reversing the restrictions.
“Four Israeli cities, citing security, ban Arab workers from schools” (Reuters)
“Israeli Towns Move to Ban Arab Workers From Schools” (Haaretz)
(Image Credit: Moti Milrod/Haaretz)
Numerous Palestinians killed and wounded following clash with army at Gaza border and knife attack by Jewish Israeli man
- Six Palestinians were killed after Israeli troops opened fire during a confrontation at the Gaza Strip border, with estimates of the wounded ranging from 19 to 50.
- Four Arab individuals were stabbed by a Jewish Israeli in the town of Dimona because of reportedly “nationalistic” motivations.
- Violence throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories has been increasing since Israeli authorities limited access to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem following the murder of Jewish Israelis in the holy city.
“Six killed in Gaza as Israeli-Palestinian violence widens” (Reuters)
“Israeli troops kill several Palestinians in Gaza” (Al Jazeera America)
“Four Arabs stabbed in southern Israel, Jewish suspect held” (Reuters)
“At least 6 Palestinians die in clash with IDF along Gaza border” (The Times of Israel)
(Image Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
Outrage erupts in Israeli Knesset after the deputy interior minister tells parliament member she should return her citizenship card for participating in a flotilla to Gaza
- Coming during a debate on the proposed cancellation of law giving Israeli citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israeli Arabs, Yaron Mazuz’s provocation also included a comment about Arab MK Hanin Zoabi being “done a favor” by being allowed to be in the Israeli parliament.
- In response, PM Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Arab MKs for speaking out against the Israeli army and accused them of “hypocrisy.”
- Other MKs, from the Joint List Arab coalition as well as other parties, swiftly condemned the comments, calling for an apology.
“Ms. Zoabi, you are the first of those who should hand back their identity card. … We are doing you a favor that you are even sitting here. Terrorists don’t sit here. You are in a democratic state — respect the state. Anyone who acts against the state through terror has no right to be here. It is unacceptable for members of this institution to take part in terror flotillas against the State of Israel.”
Read the full story at The Times of Israel.
(Image Credit: Screen capture from Channel 2, via The Times of Israel)