Several days ago the Israeli cabinet approved a bill that would work to distinguish Israel as the “Nation-State of the Jewish People” and has since drawn strong criticism for it’s seemingly anti-democratic agenda. Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly defended this bill describing Israel’s strong Jewish character as justification.
While the Israeli Parliament still has to offer approval to the bill, which passed 14-6 within the Israeli cabinet, many critics of the bill are wondering why such legislation is needed some 66 years after the creation of the state of Israel. As reported by the New York Times:
“There are many who are challenging Israel’s character as the national state of the Jewish people,” he said before the cabinet vote. “The Palestinians refuse to recognize this, and there is also opposition from within.”
He added, “There are those — including those who deny our national rights — who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev,” referring to areas of Israel with large concentrations of Arab citizens, who make up more than 20 percent of the population.
While Netanyahu is expected to amend the bill, making considerations for Arab populations, there is still concern within the international community that this bill would only magnify the already divisive rift between Jewish and Muslim faiths within the State of Israel. For instance a veteran Arab member of the Israeli Parliament Ahmed Tibi, descibes the existing Israeli State as a ‘Judocracy’ that seems to have no plans of recognition for the collective rights of Arab people living in the State.
In response to the Israeli ‘Nationality Bill’ the United State’s has expressed it’s concern that the State of Israel ‘Stick to it’s Democratic principles,’ ensuring that all it’s citizens are able to enjoy equal rights. While resistance to the ‘Nationality Bill’ has caused the next steps in moving the bill along to be postponed by the head of Israel’s government coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying he was determined to get this bill passed, ‘with or without his political partners’ agreement.