‘Resist apartheid!’ Arab Israelis protest controversial ‘Jewish nation-state’ law

Blanche Robertson
August 12, 2018

Thousand of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday against Israel's new law declaring it the nation-state of the Jewish people, legislation that has angered the country's Arab minority and drawn criticism overseas.

Im Tirtzu official Tom Nissani, who documented the slogans, said: "Not a demonstration against the Nationality Law is taking place tonight in Tel Aviv, but a demonstration calling to destroy the State of Israel".

Largely declarative, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel.

The prime minister made similar remarks Saturday night on Twitter after images and videos of the flag-waving protesters were shared on social media.

Netanyahu later commented on the Arab-led rally and the Palestinian flags being waved, saying "we will continue to raise the Israeli flag and sing Hatikva (national anthem) with pride".

Some 30,000 Israelis packed Rabin Square for the protest march led by the Arab community against the newly passed law that critics say marginalizes the state's non-Jewish citizens.

The Knesset (Israel's parliament) adopted the bill on July 19. It also allows the existence of Jewish-only communities, and sets Hebrew as the official language, relegating Arabic from an official language to one with "special status".

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.

But critics, both at home and overseas, say it undermines Israel's commitment to equality for all its citizens outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

Carmelo reportedly agrees to join Rockets
The forward was traded to the Hawks from the Thunder, then the Hawks waived Anthony so he reportedly could sign with the Rockets. Onuaku played in six National Basketball Association games over the past two seasons and averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Last week, thousands from the Druze minority protested against the law under the motto, "Equal rights for all citizens".

Arab Israelis and their supporters carry a Palestinian flag (R) and an Israeli flag during a protest against the Jewish Nation-State Law in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on August 11, 2018.

At times, some participants chanted in support of Palestine and against Israel, including cries of "In spirit and fire, we will redeem Palestine", according to the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

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

Palestinian flags were raised at the demonstration in spite of a request made by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee not to wave the flag.

But Israel's Attorney-General Avichai Mandelbit has defended the law as having "no practical significance" and its vague wording means it as little to no effect. "I'm sure [late prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin would turn in his grave if he saw what happened in Rabin Square".

Yael Valia, a 45-year-old woman who works for a start-up, waved an Israeli flag and described herself as a "Zionist", adding that "this is why we must guarantee equality for all the citizens of this country". They share the ethnicity and culture of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and often identify with Palestinian nationalism, rather than Israeli.

The protest had been organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an organization coordinating political activism among various Arab-Israeli bodies.

"We have never dared to challenge the Jewish identity of the state, and no one can teach us what sacrifice is, and no one can preach loyalty to us", Tarif said. They are opposed with all their might to Zionism and to the fact that Israel is the state of the Jewish people and was established to that end by the United Nations.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER