PM Netanyahu’s: Individual Rights Not Abrogated by Israel’s Jewish Identity

Published on Jul 29, 2018 by the IsraeliPM YouTube channel – PLEASE USE CLOSED CAPTIONS FOR ENGLISH – – Hover your mouse over lower left-hand corner of video and note the “CC” button. Click to show red underline indicating active.

דברי ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בפתח ישיבת הממשלה השבועית.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Article by Mati Tuchfeld for

Amid nation-state law controversy, PM urges lawmakers to ‘fight for the truth’

PM Netanyahu defends controversial law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, saying debate is “one-sided” and demanding that Likud ministers express ‎‎”unreserved and unapologetic” support • ‎PM calls Left’s criticism “hypocritical.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told ‎Likud ministers he expected them to express ‎‎”unreserved and unapologetic” support for ‎the controversial nation-state law.‎

‎”The Jewish nation-state is the basis of our ‎‎existence,” Netanyahu said. ‎ ‎”There is constant defiance against the nation-state ‎‎law and the discourse is very one-sided. Discussions ‎‎in media panels are shallow. Don’t be apologetic – ‎‎fight for the truth,” he urged.‎

Though largely symbolic, the contentious ‎‎legislation, which states that ‎‎”Israel is ‎the ‎‎historic homeland of the Jewish ‎people and they ‎have ‎‎an exclusive right to national ‎self-‎determination in ‎‎it,” has been lambasted by Arab lawmakers as ‎‎”racist,” and ‎discriminatory against Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, which make up a substantial percentage of the population.

The Druze, a unique religious and ethnic minority ‎among Israeli Arabs, were particularly outraged by ‎the legislation, as most Druze men serve in ‎the ‎Israel Defense Forces and members of the ‎community ‎serve in top positions in Israeli ‎‎politics and public service.‎

Several Druze leaders, including three ‎Knesset ‎members, petitioned the High Court of ‎Justice ‎against the law, saying it was ‎an “extreme act of ‎discrimination” against the ‎country’s minorities. ‎

Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with Druze leaders ‎on Sunday to hear their grievances and allay their ‎concerns. ‎

‎”We are talking with Druze leaders and today I will ‎meet with their mayors,” he said, adding that in a ‎meeting last week it was agreed to promote ‎legislation that would further ease Druze ‎integration into Israeli society, especially in the ‎workforce.‎

‎”Israeli citizens’ individual rights have been ‎cemented in a number of laws, including Basic Law: ‎Human Dignity and Liberty. These laws guarantee full ‎equality before the law, from the right to vote and ‎be elected to the Knesset to any other individual ‎right in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said ahead ‎of the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday.‎

‎”On the other hand, we have never enshrined the ‎national rights of the Jewish people in our land in ‎a basic law until now that we’ve enacted the nation-state law. What do ‘national rights’ mean? They ‎define the nature of the flag, the anthem, the ‎language and, of course, the fact one of the ‎fundamental objectives of the state is the ‎ingathering of the exiles here, in the land of ‎Israel, which is the essence of the Zionist vision.”‎

Criticizing the law’s detractors, Netanyahu said, ‎‎”Does the determination that our flag bears the Star ‎of David somehow invalidates the individual rights ‎of any Israeli citizen? Nonsense. This statement ‎does, however, ensure that there will be no other ‎flag. Does the statement that ‘Hatikvah’ is our ‎national anthem detract from the individual rights of ‎anyone in Israel? Nonsense, it simply cements the ‎fact that there will be no other anthem. ‎

‎”There is already a proposal to replace the flag and ‎the anthem in the name of so-called equality. Many ‎countries are dealing with defiance against the ‎concept of nationality, but in Israel, this ‎undermines our very existence. For this reason, the ‎attacks by the Left, which calls itself Zionist, are ‎absurd and reveal the lows to which the Left ‎has sunk,” Netanyahu said.‎

‎”For decades, the opposition has been preaching to ‎us that we should withdraw to the 1967 lines in ‎order to ensure that Israel will be the nation-state ‎of the Jewish people, with a Jewish majority in the ‎country. Now, when we legislate the nation-state law, a basic law that ensures exactly this, the Left ‎decries it? What hypocrisy,” he said.

‎”The Israeli Left has some soul-searching to do,” he continued. “It ‎must ask itself why the basic concept of Zionism – a ‎Jewish nation-state in the [Jewish] homeland – has ‎become something to be ashamed of. We are proud of ‎our country being the national home of the Jewish ‎people, a country that meticulously observe the ‎individual rights of all its citizens.”

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev also called ‎on the Druze community to support the law. ‎

Taking to Facebook, she wrote, “You, of all people – ‎you who have been deeply loyal to the State of Israel ‎for decades – should not be fooled by the radical ‎Left. Don’t buy their media spin. Read the actual ‎law.” ‎

‎”This law doesn’t discriminate against you. You ‎remain equal citizens in the Jewish state, which, as ‎you well know, has nothing but respect for its ‎citizens and especially for its loyal Druze ‎minority,”‎ Regev wrote.

The nation-state law, she continued, “doesn’t ‎violate your civil rights or anyone else’s rights – ‎Christian, Muslim, Bedouin or Circassian. These ‎rights are also enshrined in Basic Law: Human ‎Dignity and Liberty.‎”

‎”All this basic law seeks to do is complement other ‎basic laws and clarify – to us and to the judiciary, ‎which seems to have forgotten, and to the entire ‎world – that from a national level there is no ‎equality,” she wrote. “Israel has and always will be a Jewish ‎state, whose flag bears the Star of David, whose ‎language is Hebrew, and whose capital is and will ‎forever be the united city of Jerusalem. You are ‎equal and respected citizens in this country.”‎

Slamming the law’s opponents, Regev wrote that ‎‎”those who participate in the well-publicized ‎campaign against this law have never read it in full ‎or are part of the attempts to undermine Israel’s ‎Jewish character. This will fail and it only proves ‎how much this law was necessary.” ‎

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