A clause in the chauvinistic “Jewish Nation-State Bill,” being prepared for a Knesset vote, would allow communities to establish towns exclusively for certain populations – excluding others on whatever grounds they deem fit. This specific clause was roundly condemned by politicians on both the Right and Left as well as by legal authorities in a recent Knesset committee meeting on the subject.
The proposed Basic Law ― Nation-State of the Jewish People declares that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and includes ideas of what that entails including the national anthem and state symbols, having Shabbat and Jewish holidays as the national days of rest, the Law of Return, commitment to Diaspora Jewry, and more.
One article of the bill states, “The state has the right to allow a community, including of one religion or nationality to establish a separate communal town.” Joint List lawmaker Dov Khenin (Hadash) said that the bill is similar to the 1950 Group Areas Act, which established apartheid in South Africa. “The law establishing apartheid separated groups,” he remarked. “South Africa was boycotted by the whole world, and you’re trying to bring a boycott on Israel. Otherwise, it’s not clear to me why you’re promoting this bill.”
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List opposed the clause, but said that coexistence is stronger than what the government is planning. “In the 1950s, land was taken from Arab towns to establish Upper Nazareth, and today, 20% of its residents are Arab,” he said. “The reality is that Arabs and Jews can live together, and that’s what’s bothering you, so you want to pass this law.”
Related: Posts on Nation-State Bill