Days of Palestine

Tuesday, January 31

Israeli Knesset head to promote bill considering Arabs second-class citizens

Days of Palestine -

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked Head of the Israeli Knesset David Amsalem to promote the nationality bill, which considers Arabs as second-class citizens.

On Wednesday, Amsalem replaced MK David Bitan, who stepped down from the position amid a corruption investigation against him.

"The first mission of the coalition chairman, MK Amsalem, will be to pass the nationality bill, one of the most important pieces of legislation that will enter Israel's history books," Netanyahu said. 

The bill proposal, first submitted 4 years ago by Likud MK Avi Dichter, seeks to enshrine as a Basic Law the concept that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The legislation determines that all Israeli law must be interpreted according to this principle.

As discriminatory towards Arab Israelis (the Palestinians who remained home during the Israeli ethnic cleansing in the 1940s), specifies some of the practical aspects of Israel being the nation-state of the Jewish people.

It recognises the judaisation of the state symbols, Jerusalem as the capital, Hebrew as the official language, the right of Jews to migrate to Israel, Jewish settlement, relations with the Jews abroad, the Hebrew calendar and holy sites.

Netanyahu requested to complete a first reading before the Knesset adjourns for the summer. However, Eyal Yinon, the Knesset's legal advisor, informed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that a proposal such as this cannot be advanced on such a short schedule.