Israel’s Prime Minister reiterated on Tuesday that Israel is a Jewish state for the Jewish people alone, Israeli media have reported. The so-called Israeli Arabs, insisted Benjamin Netanyahu, do not need another state.

“The Arab citizens [in Israel] have 22 nation states around them and they do not need another,” he answered in response to a question about the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law. “We define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, the nation-state of the Jewish people.” All Israeli citizens, he added, enjoy “equal rights”.

Legislation in Israel and the state’s policies on the ground suggest otherwise. Palestinian citizens of the state complain bitterly of what they believe is entrenched discrimination within Israel, official and unofficial.

Netanyahu claimed that the controversial legislation does not relate to the rights of the individual, because there are equal rights for all. “The Basic Law deals only with fundamental questions of the rights of the Jewish people, a blue-and-white flag, the Hatikva [national anthem] and so on.”

He made his remarks just two days after he responded to Israeli celebrity Rotem Sela, who tweeted, “When the hell will someone in this government tell the public that Israel is a country of all its citizens?”

The Prime Minister told her: “Israel is not a state of all its citizens… According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.” – MEMO