Zehava Galon
Zehava GalonFlash 90

Meretz Chairman Zehava Gal-On responded acidly to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's declaration of support for the 'Jewish State Bill' on Sunday, claiming that officially consecrating Israel as the Jewish homeland rejects Israeli Arabs. 

"This bill combines the democratic system and the legal system under [MK Ze'ev] Elkin's Jewish nationalism," Gal-On fired. "[It] states that Arabic is not an official language, that new legislation will be in the spirit of Jewish law, and that the State will act to build Jewish settlements but not for other nationalities who live here." 

"According to Netanyahu, the proposal will protect the right of the Jewish people to a national home in Israel," she continued. "Who is trying to undermine that right?"  

According to Gal-On, that right "was already given on the 29th of November [official end date of the British Mandate, when Israel decided to adopt the 1947 UN Partition Plan - ed.], and has appeared since as a guiding principle in the Declaration of Independence and bylaws. Criticism is directed today against Israel, and not directed at the very existence of the state as the home of the Jewish people, but to the government's policy."

Gal-On, in this vein, insisted that the waves of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel incitement are simply protests against the current government. 

"The entire world is not against us; it's against Netanyahu," Gal-On said. "The truth is, there is no contradiction between Israel being a nation-state of the Jewish people and demands directed at us to leave the territories [Judea-Samaria - ed.], end the occupation, and to give equal rights to all citizens of Israel."

Gal-On added that the law "makes Israeli Arabs second-class citizens" and that it is a political move. 

"The prime minister's support for such a law is particularly acute in these days, when every responsible leader would have acted calm. But Netanyahu again thinks about the election before thinking about the good of the country," she concluded.