Bedouin join Druze in High Court petitions against Nation-State Law

According to the Bedouin petitioners, the law grants additional civil rights to Jewish citizens of Israel on the sole grounds of their ethnic and religious identity.

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August 5, 2018 18:22
2 minute read.
Israel's national flag is projected on the wall near the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem

Israel's national flag is projected on the wall near the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem May 20, 2017. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

 
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Two Bedouin Israeli citizens filed a petition to the High Court of Justice on Sunday against the recently passed controversial Nation-State Law, following previous petitions by Druze MKs and the Meretz party.

The petition was submitted by attorney Mohammed Rahal. One of the petitioners is a lieutenant colonel in reserves in the IDF.

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The plea seeks to have the Nation-State Law declared null and void, due to its articles contradicting Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, a pseudo-constitutional law (equal in legal status to the Nation-State Law) that has been in place since 1992.

They further claim that the Nation-State Law defies the status quo that has existed in Israel since its establishment, and which is anchored "in its Declaration of Independence and in its spirit."

They also demanded a court order be issued that would instruct the Knesset and government to explain why the law should not be repealed, and in the event that it is not repealed, why it should not be amended to ensure equality for all citizens of israel.

According to the Bedouin petitioners, the law grants additional civil rights to Jewish citizens of Israel on the sole grounds of their ethnic and religious identity.

Kulanu MK Akram Hasson and other top Druze officials filed a petition last Sunday asking the High Court of Justice to strike down all or part of the Jewish Nation-State Law as unconstitutional. Hasson said the law transforms the country’s Druze population and other minorities, including Arabs, into second-class citizens.



Their petition called the law “a terrible blow to the Druze sector, a terrible blow to democracy and a terrible blow to Zionism.” But Druze minister Ayoub Kara has defended the law, even after he and his family received threats from Druze people.

Last week, two Druze officers resigned from their positions in the IDF in protest against the law. Male members of the Druze community consistently serve in the military, in keeping with the sect's values of loyalty to the state.

On Saturday night tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv in a Druze-led protest against the Nation-State Law.

As of Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained adamant in his opposition to amending the law, insisting that it has not harmed - nor does it intend to harm - the individual rights of minorities living in the country.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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