Daily Israel Report

High Court Rejects 'Nakba Law' Petition

The High Court of Justice rejects petition to nullify the "Nakba Law," which blocks funds for groups that mourn the founding of the state.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/5/2012, 12:51 PM

High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice
Israeli Government Photo

The High Court of Justice has rejected an appeal to nullify the "Nakba Law" -- the measure that blocks funding for groups claiming the founding of the country was a "tragedy."

In rejecting the petition, Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch said that although it raised important issues, the constitutionality of the law could not be tested properly until actually applied [in a real-time case.]

The petition was filed by the Adalah Center for Arab Minority Rights, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Professor Oren Yiftachel.

All claimed the bill violates the constitutional rights and freedom of expression of Arab Israelis who view the establishment of the State of Israel as a "nakba" -- the Arabic word for "tragedy" or "disaster."

The day of the establishment of the state has traditionally been referred to Israel's Arab population -- as well as that of the Palestinian Authority -- as "Nakba Day," and textbooks in the Arab school systems have continued to refer to it as such.

In March 2011, The Knesset passed a law empowering the government to withhold funding from municipalities, NGOs and other bodies that either identify Independence Day as a day of mourning -- "Nakba Day" -- or actively work to deny Israel's existence as a Jewish, democratic state.