Catholic clerics want Israel’s nation-state act repealed

Israel’s Nation-state Act gives Jews a “unique” right to self-determination, which discriminates against members of the country’s other faiths, say Catholic clerics.

The act holds Israel to be the historic homeland of the Jews and demotes Arabic from its former status as an official language.

Senior Catholic clerics in Jerusalem are among those who want Israel to repeal the act.

A joint statement made in Jordan by bishops and archbishops of Jerusalem’s Roman Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic and Greek Melkite churches, plus the Maronite archbishop of Cyprus and the Greek Melkite archbishop of Petra says:

“We must draw the attention of the authorities to a simple fact.

“Our faithful, the Christians, our fellow citizens, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i, all of us who are Arabs, are no less citizens of this country than our Jewish brothers and sisters.

“Christians, Muslims, Druze, Baha’i and Jews demand to be treated as equal citizens.

“We, as the religious leaders of the Catholic Churches, call on the authorities to rescind this basic law and assure one and all that the state of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens.”

Israeli Arabs are also concerned about the act because it omits any reference to equality or to the country’s democratic nature. They say it will legalise discrimination.

There were widespread Arab protests after the act passed into law in July.

Some Jewish politicians, including President Reuven Rivlin, say the act should be amended.

Rivlin says the act “in its current version is bad for the state of Israel and bad for the Jews.”

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