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Likud MK: Israel is not ‘a Jewish and democratic state,’ but rather ‘a Jewish state with a democratic regime’

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The above video is part of the Knesset debate that Phil posted on earlier today. It begins with Palestinian MK Ahmed Tibi challenging two bills before the parliament. One pertains to a law that makes it impossible for non-Jewish Israeli citizens to extend their citizenship to a non-Jewish spouse. This is used to prevent Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying Palestinians in the occupied territories and this making them Israeli citizens.

The second bill would legalize a policy that has been practiced for years in Jewish communities located in primarily Palestinian parts of Israel such as the Galilee and Negev. It is common in these areas for Jewish community associations to deny people the right to build a home in that community if they are found to not fit the “lifestyle and social fabric” of the community or "the basic ideology it espouses." This is used to keep Palestinians out of Jewish-only communities, which as you can imagine are usually better resourced and supported by the state.

Arutz Sheva, the settler movement newswire, covered the debate. From the article "Jewish MKs Lay Down Ground Rules, Arab MKs Furious":

Radical Arab Knesset Members are seething as the parliament debates a set of bills that seek to solidify Israel’s Jewish nature. MK Yariv Levine (Likud) said Tuesday, “There is a need to clarify basic truths that were clear in the past but for some reason have been forgotten.”

"There is a need to remind people again that the State of Israel is not ‘a Jewish and democratic state,’ but rather ‘a Jewish state with a democratic regime,’" the Likud MK said, "and that Israel was established for the purpose of being the state of the Jewish people."

It would seem that the "democratic regime" is in mortal danger, if it ever existed at all (which I don’t think it did). Tibi is quoted as saying the housing bill is "racism disguised as social homogeneity. It’s the laws of the white man’s rule."

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

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