'Nakba Bill' passes Knesset in third reading

New law would penalize local authorities, state-funded bodies for denying Israel as Jewish, democratic state; Admissions Committee Law passes.

NETANyahu at knesset 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
NETANyahu at knesset 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Two controversial laws were approved by the Knesset Tuesday night's plenum meeting. The "Nakba Bill" and the Admissions Committee Law have both been slammed by left-wing legislators for being racist and unfairly biased towards Arab-Israelis.
The "Nakba Bill," authored by MK Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu), passed the Knesset with 37 voting in favor and 25 opposed, Israel Radio reported.
RELATED:Knesset to begin vote on reworked ‘Nakba Bill’MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List), criticized the new law, saying Arab citizens of Israel would continue to commemorate Nakba Day. He added that Arab-Israelis should not be considered guilty of a crime if they refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, Israel Radio reported.
Miller’s bill, in its original form, would have authorized up to a three-year prison sentence for anyone commemorating "Nakba" (Catastrophe) Day on Israeli Independence Day.
The re-worked version of the law would require the state to fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies for holding events marking Nakba Day by supporting armed resistance or racism against Israel, or desecrating the state flag or nation symbols.
According to the new compromise, any state-funded body that pays for the event would be forced to pay only three times its cost in fines – deducted from their operating budget. If the same person violates the law again over the proceeding two years, they will pay double the normal fine under the law.
The second bill, the Admissions Committee Law, passed Tuesday night with 35 in favor and 20 opposed, Israel Radio reported. Opponents criticized the bill, saying the initiative had racist components, and would be utilized in order to block Arabs from joining new settlements.
Co-author of the bill MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) assured that under the new law, admission committees would not be able to deny potential members access based on race or religion. MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), the other initiator of the new law, said that the bill is meant to assist in the social and cultural cohesion of small, rural communities.