Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Netanyahu: Arab rally in Tel Aviv threatened our existence

Israel's Arab minority rallies against new nation-state law 30000 gather in Tel Aviv for march 'to bring down nation-state law'
Jeannette Daniel | 13 August, 2018, 09:54

People march during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv.

The march was attended by several Palestinian figures, including former MP Mohammad Barakeh, the chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Affairs, MP Jamal Zahalka, MP Masoud Ghanaim, and Chairman of the National Council of Arab Community Leaders Eva Illouz.

"Our activists documented the true face of the demonstration, which, under the guise of a rally for equality and against the Nationality Law, it is aimed at countering the very existence of the State of Israel - and it is supported by the New Israel Fund", Nissani said, adding, "Once again, we've exposed the true faces of Joint Arab List MKs, along with the heads of organizations supported by the NIF, who are supporting the demonstration against the State of Israel".

"The basis of the demonstration today is to direct a powerful message that the national law will be abolished", Ghanaim told the protesters.

On Saturday, a record number of Palestinians rallied in Tel Aviv after performing their evening prayers, chanting "We are not second class!" and carrying banners that read in both Arabic and Hebrew, "Nation-State Law - Official Apartheid".

The bill has been rejected by Palestinians and members of the global community, which has called the bill an apartheid law, because it recognizes the right to self-determination as an exclusive right for the country's Jewish majority, and downgrades the status of Arabic, from official language to "special status".

One clause downgrades the Arabic language from official to "special" standing.

Israel's Arab population comprises mainly descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 war at the time of the creation of the modern state of Israel.

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Amos Shoken, publisher of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was also present at the rally and urged Arab Israelis "not to despair" and to continue to mobilise against the controversial law.

She said she brought them to the rally "because their future is at stake".

It stipulates that "Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it".

"I feel ashamed that after 70 years I have to accentuate my nationalism instead of being generous towards all those who live here", said Gila Zamir, 58, a Jewish Israeli from the Arab-Jewish city Haifa.

"Yesterday we received unequivocal evidence of defiance to the existence of Israel and the necessity of the Nation-State Law", Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

But Rozin insisted the approximately 30,000 Israelis who packed into downtown Tel Aviv on Saturday night were simply demanding equality, similar to the Druze-led protest against the law held at the city square a week earlier.

The government has argued the new law merely anchors the country's existing character, and that Israel's democratic nature and provisions for equality are already rooted in existing constitutional legislation. Rights groups and Jewish groups in the Diaspora have spoken against the legislation, as have the EU, Egypt and Israel's own president.

The Druze are ethnic Arab members of a religious minority that is an offshoot of Islam incorporating elements of other faiths. However, efforts by Netanyahu to appease the Druze community have so far failed.

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