New Bill in Israel May Undermine Minority Rights

New Bill in Israel May Undermine Minority Rights

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A new proposed law in Israel has gained traction called the Jewish nation-state bill. This new bill is very controversial. Backed by the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and was approved by the Israeli cabinet, but has attracted fierce criticism from opponents inside Israel and its President, Reuven Rivlin, as well as from the US and the EU.

If this new bill were to be passed it would mean that this bill would “ recognize Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalize Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and possibly de-list Arabic as a second official language.” This means that Israel would be undermining a previous law, but a very important one: Israel’s declaration of independence. This is considered a basic law, so undermining seems very undemocratic. In this declaration there is a section that talks about equal rights for everyone, which includes the Arabic minority targeted by this new law. This new law would show the minorities of Israel that their democratic state comes second to a Jewish state.

Critics of this bill point out that passing this into law would only give the international community a negative view on the country. This is not good as the general western countries already hold Israel in a not so favourable light. Netanyahu, the Prime Minister who supports the controversial bill has this to say about it: “individual civil rights would be guaranteed under existing laws for all, but that “national rights” should be reserved for Jews.”  Another critic says that “We don’t need legislation to make Israel a Jewish state, and you cannot make it a Jewish state by legislation.” He means to say that since 75% is Jewish, so the main language, written word, music is all mostly Hebrew, that Israel is already a Jewish state. There is no need for a law that is useless and will only marginalize the Arab minority. Israel should be considered a home for Arabs, where they feel safe and comfortable, not a place where their rights may be second to those of Jewish faith.

As the official vote comes up it looks like more and more officials are to vote against it. After many arguments in parliament, it seems like Netanyahu’s coalition is slowly cracking. Parties on the left are generally against it, centralist parties threatening to vote against it and even some people on the right like President Reuven Rivlin will not be voting in favour of the motion.




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