NGO lodges petition against Israel's 'nation-state' law

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"Nobody has harmed - and nobody intends to harm - these individual rights but without the Nation-State Law it will be impossible to ensure for (future) generations the future of Israel as a Jewish national state".

"The petition was submitted on behalf of the Arab political leadership in Israel", the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, also known as Adalah, said in a statement.

On the concern about establishing Jewish-only communities, Greenberg said that until today Israel's Supreme Court has only allowed the establishment of non-Jewish only communities and that a clause in the legislation had been meant to correct this disparity.

Israel has come under worldwide criticism since passing the Basic Law, which has also come to be known as the "Jewish Nation-State" law.

Greenberg addressed critics of the law who say that it infringes on religious freedom, saying that the law "relates only to the national rights of the Jewish people and does not address religious questions or prescribe an official religion".

The Basic Laws of Israel are the constitutional laws that can only be changed by a super-majority vote in the Israeli Knesset, hence the constitutional underpinning of the Israeli justice system. "Individual rights are anchored in many laws", Netanyahu said Sunday.

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Protesters wave Israeli and Druze flags at a demonstration in Tel Aviv against the nation-state law, on August 4, 2018.

The legislation was passed as a so-called basic law, which, similar to a constitution, underpin Israel's legal system and are more hard to repeal than regular laws.

The Israeli High Court has made no moves to overturn Basic Law legislation to date, prompting fears that the petitions will achieve little more than media coverage. Barakeh stressed that "we demand the unconditional cancellation of the law". The law, however, would not require making state services accessible in Arabic.

The nation-state law does not "contradict or supersede the basic laws that protect and guarantee individual rights of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender", she wrote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to placate the Druze with a package of benefits, but efforts to negotiate it have stalled.

Thus to argue that the nation-state law is undemocratic because it doesn't mention equality or minority rights is like arguing that the U.S. Constitution is undemocratic because Articles I and II confer broad powers on the legislature and executive without mentioning the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

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