Opposition dares Netanyahu to attend Knesset Nation-State session

Special session requested by 52 opposition MKs, petition and demonstration planned against controversial legislation.

The Knesset votes on the nation-state bill, July 19, 2018 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset votes on the nation-state bill, July 19, 2018
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The opposition has dared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to personally attend the special session of the Knesset being held Wednesday to discuss the Nation-State law and “how it harms the values of equality and democracy.”
The unusual meeting of the parliamentarians during their summer recess was requested by 52 opposition MKs, more than double the 25 required to convene the parliament during its recess. Netanyahu is not required to attend the session, but the Zionist Union has asked him to attend to face the mounting criticism of the bill enacted July 19.
“This is not the time to hide and send another minister,” Zionist Union faction head Yoel Hasson said. “You cannot legislate a Nation-State Law one day and hide from criticism after that. If Netanyahu does not come, it is proof he cannot handle the criticism. Israel deserves a courageous prime minister who can admit mistakes and fix them.”
Speakers at the special session will include new opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), Druze Zionist Union MK Salah Saad, and Arab MKs from the Joint List.
At a Tel Aviv press conference Tuesday, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee unveiled a petition to the High Court of Justice against the law and announced plans for a demonstration Saturday night in Rabin Square. The 70-page lawsuit filed by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, alleges that the law discriminates against Arabs.
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee head Mohammed Barakeh vowed to do everything possible to increase both internal and international pressure to get the law canceled. He said he wrote UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and European Union Foreign Secretary Federica Mogherini, with whom he will be meeting on September 4.
 The Arab demonstration and High Court petition will follow up on last Saturday night’s Tel Aviv protest and a High Court petition that were organized by the Druze community. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has said the High Court cannot overturn a Basic Law, and said she does not believe the Court would take such action on the bill because it is lacking in substance.
A pro-Jewish Nation-State rally will be held Tuesday night at the Likud’s Tel Aviv headquarters at Metzudat Ze’ev. The event will honor and show support for Communications Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), who is Druze.
Netanyahu convened a new ministerial committee on helping the Druze for the first time on Monday. He asked all his cabinet ministers to report on their efforts to help the Druze community and what further actions could be taken.
Also at the Knesset on Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will host IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and will swear in new Zionist Union MK Robert Tiviaev, who replaces Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog.