Druze to rally against Nation-State law after deal fails

“I will not accept disrespect for the prime minister of Israel and for the state from a man who calls Israel an Apartheid State,” Netanyahu said.

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August 2, 2018 22:01
3 minute read.
Druze to rally against Nation-State law after deal fails

Police restrain Druze leader Amir Kneifas from attacking Likud MK Avi Dichter at an event in Karmiel in which scholarships were distributed to Druze students by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. (photo credit: ERAN GILBERT/ INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIA)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to cancel a demonstration set for Saturday night against his Jewish Nation-State Law failed Thursday night when a meeting he convened with Druze leaders ended in mutual recriminations.

Netanyahu met with Druze leaders at his Tel Aviv office after the two parties reached an agreement Wednesday about the law. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amal Assad, one of the demonstration’s organizers, insisted during the meeting that the event take place on Saturday night, and criticized the deal.

As Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muwafak Tarif spoke during the meeting, Assad reportedly interrupted him and called Israel “an apartheid state.” The interruption led Netanyahu to abruptly end the meeting.

“I will not accept disrespect for the prime minister of Israel and for the state from a man who calls Israel an apartheid state,” Netanyahu said.

Druze officials who attended the meeting denied that Assad used the word apartheid.

Assad called the agreement between Tarif and Netanyahu “humiliating and unacceptable.”

But Tarif said the Druze community had officially accepted the proposal, which he called a “unique window of opportunity to bring about equality.”

Leaders on both sides voiced dissatisfaction from Wednesday’s agreement.

“We are sick of the promises of the bluffer from Balfour Street,” said Zionist Union MK Salah Saad, referring the prime minister’s residence. “Unless Netanyahu tells the nation at the Knesset that he will enact a Basic Law about the Druze in the first week after the Knesset’s recess, his proposal to the Druze is not worth the ink on the paper and it can be used to make a tiara.”

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) said after the agreement was reached and the Druze obtained their goals, there was no longer a reason for the demonstration planned for Rabin Square.

Speaking at a legal conference in Eilat Thursday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) advised MKs to drop the court cases they filed against the Nation-State Law.

“The fact that MKs are petitioning against a Basic Law proves they have no understanding,” she said. “Courts intervene when laws contradict a Basic Law. The High Court has no authority to overturn a Basic Law.”

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter, who sponsored the bill, was physically attacked by a Druze leader at an event in Karmiel Thursday during which scholarships were distributed to Druze students.

The head of the campaign against the Nation-State Law, Dr. Amir Kneifas, called Dichter a “dog, a racist and a Nazi,” before he was restrained by police and arrested. Dichter called Kneifas’ attack on him unacceptable.

“I will not be called a Nazi,” he said. “The Nazis murdered my family.”

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter, who sponsored the bill, was physically attacked by a Druze leader at an event in Karmiel Thursday during which scholarships were distributed to Druze students  by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The head of the campaign against the Nation-State Law, Dr. Amir Kneifas, called Dichter a “dog, a racist and a Nazi,” before he was restrained by police and arrested. Dichter called Kneifas’ attack on him unacceptable.

“I will not be called a Nazi,” he said. “My name is Abraham Moshe Dichter. I was named after my grandfather, who was murdered by Nazis along with much of my family. This is personal between me and the man who called me a Nazi, but with other [Druze leaders], we can work it out with dialog.”

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