Druze officials ask High Court to strike Jewish nation-state law

"The law transforms the country’s Druze population and other minorities, including Arabs, into second-class citizens"

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July 22, 2018 16:45
1 minute read.
Druze officials ask High Court to strike Jewish nation-state law

The Knesset votes on the nation-state bill, July 19, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Kulanu MK Akram Hasson and other top Druze officials filed a petition on 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.

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The petition called the law “a terrible blow to the Druze sector, a terrible blow to democracy and a terrible blow to Zionism. The Jewish Nation-State Law disproportionately and unreasonably harms [all minorities, turning them] into exiled people in their own homeland.”

The petition also said the law violates Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, which is considered the country’s most foundational legal basis for how it views all other issues.

The Nation-State Law, according to the petition, replaces the delicate balance between Israel’s Jewish and democratic principles, with a lopsided leaning toward the Jewish principle.

Moreover, the petition says the law does not mention the state’s democratic character or the rights and equality of all of its citizens, but focuses instead solely on strengthening the state’s Jewish aspects.

Their petition argues that the law eliminates Arabic’s status as one of Israel’s official languages, and that by favoring Jewish causes, such as Jewish settlement, sets up a system of discrimination between different ethnic sectors.

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The petition was noteworthy in that it was filed by a Druze MK from the moderate coalition Kulanu Party.

Although the country’s Arab sector was highly critical of the law during Knesset debates, the Druze sector is typically more supportive of Israeli government policies and integrates into the IDF and government bodies more than the state’s Arabs and other minorities.

Multiple human rights groups
that often challenge laws which move the state further to the Right or which arguably harm the rights of the Arab sector, were still considering their options with respect to the law.

In addition to criticism within Israel, the law has drawn global condemnation from much of the US Jewish community.

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