Critics say the law further lowers the status of Israel’s Palestinian minority, which accounts for 21 percent of its population.
A controversial law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people was upheld by the Supreme Court, which rejected opponents ’claims of discriminating against minorities.
In its ruling Thursday, the court acknowledged the shortcomings of the so-called State of the Nation Act. But he said he “did not deny the democratic character of Israel” outlined in other laws.
Proponents of the 2018 law claimed that the legislation only enshrined Israel’s existing Jewish character.
Critics said it would further degrade the status of Israel’s Palestinian minority, which accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s population.
Adalah, a Palestinian rights group that tried to repeal the law, said the court upheld a law that “completely excludes those who do not belong to the majority group.” He said he “will continue to work internationally to expose the discriminatory and racist nature of this law.”
Palestinian citizens of Israel have the right to vote and are well represented in many professions, yet they suffer widespread discrimination in areas such as housing and the labor market.
The law was passed by the Knesset, or parliament, in July 2018. It defines Israel as the “nation-state” of the Jewish people and adds that fulfilling the right to national self-determination in the state of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish People “.
He also downgraded Arabic from one official language of the state to another with “special status.”
The passage of the law provoked vocal opposition from the country’s Palestinian minority, especially among Druze Israelis, who militate.
Several Palestinian rights groups and civil society organizations appealed to the court to repeal the law. An 11-judge tribunal, the largest court configuration, considered the case.
In its 10-1 ruling, the court said that “equal rights are granted to all citizens of the state, including minority groups.”
He said the right to national self-determination “does not deny recognized personal or cultural rights.”
The judges also said the law did not underestimate the status of the Arabic language or prevent “the promotion of its status.”
The only Palestinian justice of the court, George Karra, was the only dissident who called the law discriminatory.
“Essence” of Israel
Justice Minister Gideon Saar, leader of the nationalist New Hope party, welcomed Thursday’s ruling.
He said the law “anchors the essence and character of Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people” and “does not violate the individual rights of any of the citizens of Israel.”
Legal expert Yuval Shany, vice president of the Institute for Democracy of Israel, an independent think tank, said the law is largely symbolic and provides a constitutional “baggage” that judges should take into account. when considering other cases.
But he said the ruling made it clear that other laws should also be considered, on issues such as equality and minority rights.
“Basically, the court says it will have to explore these issues on a case-by-case basis when future legislation is introduced,” he said.