The proposed Jewish nation-state bill being touted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and right-wing MKs undermines Israel's claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East, said Bradley Burston, senior editor and columnist for Haaretz.
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In an interview with Aimee Amiga, Burston explains that the bill – which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and attempts to resolve the tension between the country's dual Jewish and democratic character – is problematic from multiple perspectives.
The first is that it "downgrades Arabic and drops it as an official language of Israel," says Burston, adding that the bill also "omits the use of the word equality, which is a hugely important omission."
The next area of concern, according to Burston, is "what kinds of implications this has for Israel as a society and for the government and its practice." He mentions the "implied attack" on the Supreme Court as an example (the bill defines Jewishness as the default nature of the state in any instance, legal or legislative, in which the state's Jewishness and its democratic aspirations clash).
The final problematic aspect of the bill, Burston says, "is what this has already done domestically and internationally – there's a tremendous amount of distress being felt among the Israeli Arab population because of this." And internationally, it undermines Israel's claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East; it undermines the claim to be a democratic society which concerns itself with the rights of minorities," said Burston.
Watch the full interview here: