Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attacked Jews who oppose a notorious nation-state bill that has downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel, accusing them of siding with “the other.”
“The attacks from Leftist circles, which define themselves as Zionists, are absurd and reveal the depths to which the Left has fallen”, Netanyahu said in a speech on Sunday.
He accused left-wingers in Israel who are against the law of being hypocrites because according to him, they allegedly want a withdrawal from the occupied West Bank in exchange of a Jewish state.
“So now suddenly, when we legislate a law that does just that, they cry out in protest on the Left,” he said. “What hypocrisy,” he said, according to Times of Israel.
The notorious law, however, does not respect the Palestinian status of the West Bank, with the Tel Aviv government claiming they have every right to build illegal settlements on the occupied territories at the expense of Palestinian civilians.
The West Bank has been occupied for more than 50 years. More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in territories seized during the 1967 war.
The nation-state law passed earlier this month declared the country as the nation state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it could lead to blatant discrimination against Arab citizens.
Arab lawmakers and Palestinians called the law "racist" and said it legalised "apartheid" following a tumultuous debate in parliament.
Others said it neglects to specify equality and Israel's democratic character, implying that the country's Jewish nature comes first.
The European Union expressed concern and called for the rights of minorities to be respected.
The legislation, adopted by 62 votes to 55, makes Hebrew the country's national language and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest.
Arabic, previously considered an official language, was granted only special status.
The law speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and says they have a "unique" right to self-determination there, according to its final text.
The legislation becomes part of the country's basic laws, which serve as a de facto constitution.
"It is our state, the Jewish state, but in recent years some have tried to question that as well as the principles of our existence and our rights," Netanyahu said after the vote on the legislation, backed by his right-wing government.
He called its approval a "decisive moment" in Israeli history, despite international condemnation.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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