The Arab minority of Israel joins the new national state law

<pre><pre>The Arab minority of Israel joins the new national state law

Israeli Jews also joined the demonstration, the second since last Saturday, when thousands of the Druze minority took to the streets in Tel Aviv to denounce the law that they say makes them second-class citizens, reporters said. AFP.

Protesters waved Palestinian and Israeli flags at the rally, which according to Israeli state television attracted a crowd of more than 30,000 people.

Several clauses contained in the law passed last month are cause for concern, especially since the text is part of Israel's so-called basic laws: a de facto constitution.

It makes no mention of equality or democracy, which implies that the Jewish nature of Israel has priority, something for which the far-right religious nationalist politicians of Israel have advocated for a long time.

One section refers to Israel as the historical homeland of the Jews and says they have a "unique" right to self-determination there.

Others define the establishment of Jewish communities as of national interest and make Hebrew the only official language, which degrades Arabic to a special status.

The Israeli Arabs, the descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land when Israel was created in 1948, make up about 17.5 percent of the Israeli population.

They worry that the new law could allow open discrimination against them in everything from housing to the budget and land allocation.

Members of the Druze community of 130,000 people, serving in the police and army, are among those who strongly denounce the legislation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

AAP

& # 39; Apartheid regime & # 39;

At the demonstration on Saturday, the protesters accused the Israeli government of being an "apartheid regime", shouting in Hebrew and Arabic, "equality, equality" and "apartheid will not happen," AFP reporters said.

The demonstration was organized by groups representing the Israeli Arab minority, while the one that took place last Saturday was organized by the Druze.

Yael Valia, a 45-year-old woman who works for an emerging company, waved an Israeli flag and described herself as "Zionist", adding that "that is why we must guarantee equality for all citizens of this country" .

Next to her, an Israeli Arab psychologist and mother of two children, Watan Dahleh, took one of her children on her back and extended her hand to the other.

She said that she brought them to the demonstration "because her future is at stake".

The members of the Druze community also participated in the demonstration on Saturday.

At least five lawsuits against the nation-state law have been filed, and now it will be up to the judges to decide whether to limit their interpretation.

"It's a racist law that reminds us of what happened in South Africa during apartheid," said Mohammed Barake, who heads an Arab-Israeli committee that presented one of the five judicial challenges.

Amos Shoken, editor of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was also present at the demonstration and urged the Israeli Arabs to "not despair" and continue mobilizing against the controversial law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has remained defiant.

"The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people, Israel is a democratic and Jewish state, and individual rights are anchored in many laws," Netanyahu said on Sunday.

"No one has harmed – and nobody intends to damage – these individual rights, but without the Nation-State Law it will be impossible to guarantee (future) generations the future of Israel as a Jewish national state," he said.