TEL AVIV, November 23, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a controversial bill defining Israel as a Jewish state.
‘Israel is the Jewish, nationalist state for the Jewish people with equal rights for all citizens,’ Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addressed his cabinet during the stormy session.
Under the new bill, Arabic will no longer be reserved as an official language in a move seen upholding discrimination against Arabs residing in Israel.
Israeli media said that following a stormy debate between Israeli Netanyahu and other cabinet members, 14 ministers voted against it, while six voted in favor of the bill.
The bill will be referred to the Israeli parliament, Knesset, where lawmakers will see it for the first time on Wednesday.
It would entitle the government to strip all rights off any Arab citizen who took part in any action of violence, even stone-throwing.
The sources quoted Netanyahu as saying the proposed bill would consolidate the policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis, which his government adopted in East Jerusalem earlier this month despite condemnation by human-rights groups.
The move is considered the first of its kind, and would strip Arab residents in Israel of many of their basic rights.
“The nationality law being presented to the government is a bad law that was only drafted for the sake of Likud primaries,” said Finance Minister Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “This is a law that [David] Ben-Gurion, [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky and [Menachem] Begin would oppose.”
Earlier Sunday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement denouncing the proposed Israeli bill and considered it to be part of an all-out apartheid war waged by the Israeli government against Jerusalem, its holy sites and its people.