The exclusion of the Arab minority in Israel has until now lacked a vital basis to its institutionalization. There is no law discriminating against Arabs, limiting where they may settle, negating their language as an official language or determining that they are challenging the state’s Jewish identity.
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Israel has been forced until now to rely on tricks, excuses and winks to prevent Arabs from working in so-called sensitive places of work, delay building plans in their communities, limit how many of them reside in Jewish communities and not enforce the use of Arabic in official correspondences. Only in a few instances did the High Court of Justice intervene and the government had no choice but to obey the ruling.
Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin decided to put an end to this murky reality and provide the unofficial apartheid policy a legal basis. Levin is proposing the Basic Law: State of the Nation, which is nothing short of an apartheid law. If it will be accepted, Israel will be able to proudly hold the tile of a Jewish and racist state, a unique political creation, which will certainly astonish the family of nations.
Levin proposes, among other things, mandatory construction of Jewish communities, while building Arab communities will need authorization; abolishing Arabic as an official language and mandating the courts to give precedence in their rulings to Jewish identity in questions of democratic values and equal rights. That is to say, to give precedence to “Jewish” over “democratic” in defining the state.
Arabs will enjoy at best the status of a tolerated minority, with the option of turning them into a non-tolerated minority down the line, one which needs to be rid of because its presence spoils the state’s Jewish purity.
Levin and his comrades have a vision: The racist state won’t suffice with its recognized borders. It will officially adopt the living space divinely promised to it. “The Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and where the state of Israel was established,” the bill reads. Finally, the messianic dream will have a geographic, legal identity, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
Levin is no joke, and he is far from being the exception. He is continuing the way paved by Avi Dichter, who failed in his efforts to legitimize apartheid. Moreover, he is a competitor with MK Ruth Calderon, a member of Yesh Atid, who is promoting together with Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked a similar bill, which at its heart subjugates democracy to the state’s Jewish identity.
Instead of purging elements of racism from within its ranks, it turns out that the present coalition is also promoting apartheid in the guise of “new politics.”