Israel’s new nation-state law is discriminatory

Israel’s new nation-state law is discriminatory and violates domestic and international law, the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem said in a statement.

The Church says the legislation violates the UN resolution that led to Israel’s founding, as well as Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

The law, which was passed last week:

  • states that “the right to exercise national self-determination” in Israel is “unique to the Jewish people”
  • establishes Hebrew as Israel’s official language, and downgrades Arabic — a language widely spoken by Arab Israelis — to a “special status”
  • establishes “Jewish settlement as a national value” and mandates that the state “will labour to encourage and promote its establishment and development”

“The law fails to provide any constitutional guarantees for the rights of the indigenous and other minorities living in the country,” the Patriarchate’s statement says.

“Palestinian citizens of Israel, constituting 20 percent, are flagrantly excluded from the law.”

The Patriarchate, as the chief representative of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, is urging Christians to come forward and oppose it.

However, supporters say the law change was necessary to legally enshrine Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

“It is beyond conception that a law with constitutional effect ignores an entire segment of the population as if its members never existed,” the media quoted the Church as saying.

“It sends an unequivocal signal to the Palestinian citizens of Israel to the effect that in this country they are not at home.”


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