Israel MPs to debate divisive Jewish nation law next week

Israel MPs to debate divisive Jewish nation law next week
Arab-Israeli poet Dareen Tatour, 35, reacts at the magistrate court after being sentenced to five months in prison, in Nazareth, Israel. (Reuters)
Updated 31 July 2018

Israel MPs to debate divisive Jewish nation law next week

Israel MPs to debate divisive Jewish nation law next week
  • Parliament announced it will meet on Aug. 8 at the demand of 52 of its 120 members
  • The session is for debate only and no votes will be taken

JERUSALEM: Israeli MPs are to return from summer recess next week to discuss mounting criticism of a new law proclaiming the country the nation state of the Jewish people, Parliament said on Tuesday.

President Reuven Rivlin has, meanwhile, reportedly said he will sign the law in Arabic, in an apparent protest against the language’s loss of official status alongside Hebrew under the legislation.

Rivlin’s office did not confirm the reports in the Israeli media.

Parliament announced it will meet on Aug. 8 at the demand of 52 of its 120 members, more than twice the number required to call a special session.

The session is for debate only and no votes will be taken, although some MPs have called for urgent changes to a law that they say legalizes discrimination against Israel’s Arab minority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the legislation, saying there are other laws on the books that guarantee equality for non-Jews and define Israel as democratic.

But Arabs have strongly criticized it, particularly those from Israel’s 130,000-strong Druze community, who, unlike most other Arabs, serve in the police and military alongside Jewish Israelis. Arab lawmakers have branded the law “racist.”