Bill to Segregate Jews and Arabs in Israel

It would imperil the country’s democratic nature

The Benjamin Netanyahu-led government in Israel wants to pass a bill which would legally permit the Jewish exclusive communities the same nationality and faith to maintain its exclusive nature .

The bill flies against the ethos propounded by the Israeli constitution. The country sees itself more than simply a Jewish state, with a functioning democracy protecting Arab rights. The latter constitutes about a fifth of the nation's population, along with a number of other minorities. The Jewish ethos is enshrined in Israel being the country of Jewish people. The country's religious and national characters are reflected in its laws. The inner wording of the bill goes further: the present draft will allow implementation of Jewish religious law. It may remove Arabic as the nation's official language in entirety. It is expected that the bill will be subjected to a vote during the third week of July. The final draft, however, is yet to be finished.

Many Israeli parliamentarians have openly decried the bill. They have compared this legislation to the once apartheid regime in South Africa. A few thousand Israelis protested against the bill on the streets of capital city Tel Aviv.

Members of Israel Democracy Institute echo what many sane Israelis think about the bill. Amir Fuchs, the chief of the institute, said the main concern linked with this bill is that it changes the state's innate nature and disbalances the concept of Israel as a nation-state. He pointed out that only non-discrimination of the state machinery will maintain Israel as a democratic nation. It is a no-brainer that the state cannot create settlements on the basis of religion, nationality, or race.

Fuchs said the aim of this bill is to make Israel more a Jewish state and less a democracy. The balance will tilt towards a narrow parochial view. There could be other consequences as well. The Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who holds a symbolic role, and the country's attorney general, have opposed the bill. Rivlin pointed out that this bill could harm Jewish people all over the world and could be used as a weapon by Israel baiters. The bill may also lead to ostracization of Middle Eastern Jews or homosexuals.

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