The legislation, adopted by 62 votes to 55 members of the regime’s parliament, Knesset, makes Hebrew Israel’s national language and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest.
The law prioritizes “Jewish” values over democratic ones in the occupied territories, declares al-Quds (Jerusalem) the “capital” of Israel, and also relegates Arabic from an official language to one with “special status.”
Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the vote as a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism.”
Immediately after the bill passed, Arab lawmakers tore it in protest, calling it an instance of “apartheid.”
The bill has been compared to South African apartheid by Israeli lawmakers, but Netanyahu had repeatedly said its passage is one of his top priorities.
Arab members of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi and Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu, “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.”
“Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” Tibi lashed out at Netanyahu.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, called the law a bid to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.
“The Jewish nation-state law features key elements of apartheid, which is not only immoral but also absolutely prohibited under international law,” said Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah.
March 2017, a United Nations report accused the Israeli regime of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”.
The report – Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid – was commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).