Over 1,000 Protest Jewish Nation-state Bill Outside PM's Residence

Demonstrators protest bill, defining Israel as nation state of Jews alone; government is a 'group of pyromaniacs, led by an ego-maniac,' says ex-Shin Bet chief at protest.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Hundreds of Israelis demonstrate against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "Jewish nation-state" bill, on November 29, 2014 outside the Netanyahu's residency in Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Israelis demonstrate against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "Jewish nation-state" bill, on November 29, 2014 outside the Netanyahu's residency in Jerusalem.Credit: AFP
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Over 1,000 demonstrators protested the Jewish nation-state bill outside of the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on Saturday evening.

"Democracy without equality is democracy for Jews alone, a democracy that wants to kick out Israel's Arab citizens," Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On said in a speech.

The nation-state bill is a draft of a quasi-constitutional Basic Law that defines Israel as a Jewish state and grants national rights only to the Jewish people, while upholding all citizens' rights as individuals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to present a final version of the bill in the next few days.

Gal-On also addressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said: "The criticism leveled against the state of Israel is only directed against your occupation policy, and if you're so displeased by the Declaration of Independence, there's no reason to try and rewrite it with despicable legislation. You can just pack up and leave, and go find a state with different principles.

"The state of Israel is not made per request, you need to leave the keys and go home. You failed in security, you failed in peace, you failed in safeguarding democracy and minority rights. Every day that you hold the reins Israel is becoming more violent, less democratic, more messianic, closeted and paranoid."

Former Shin Bet chief Carmi Gilon made a scathing speech, calling the government a "group of pyromaniacs, led by an ego-maniac."

"The nation-state bill is a cancer in this nation, and in all its citizens," he said. "The continuing of the radical-messianic activities in the Temple Mount would lead to the end of days, to a war by the entire Muslim nation against the entire Jewish nation."

The protest was organized by the Peace Now movement, joined by Meretz and Labor party activists. Other speakers included former education minister Yossi Sarid and Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer.

MK Arel Margalit from the Labor party also spoke, calling Netanyahu and his "nationalist friends from the extreme right" an "existential menace to the state of Israel," adding that Netanyahu will soon be voted out of the PM's seat.

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