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Israel’s parliament rejects equal rights bill

The Israeli Knesset [File photo]
The Israeli Knesset [File photo]

The Israeli parliament has rejected a draft bill affirming citizens’ right to equality. According to a report by Israeli activist Yossi Gurvitz for Mondoweiss, the Knesset voted down the bill by 71-38.

‘Basic Law’: Equality’, drafted by Meretz MK Mossi Raz, stated: “The State of Israel shall maintain equal political rights amongst all its citizens, without any difference between religions, race and sex.”

In the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition – which has only 61 seats in the Knesset – “enjoyed the support” of opposition party Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid.

In addition, Gurvitz reported, “many members” of the Labor Party-dominated Zionist Camp faction “fled the hall before the vote”.

READ: Knesset approves 200 communities where Arabs are banned

As related by Gurvitz, “Israeli law never recognised equality between citizens”.

“An attempt to enter an equality clause to the Human Dignity and Freedom Basic Law, back in 1992, failed – mostly due to the opposition of the religious parties”, he added.

According to Gurvitz, the rejection of the bill will be a blow to Druze Israelis, who were promised by Netanyahu “he’d grant them an exemption” to the discriminatory Jewish Nation-State law.

“Those 71 votes represent the hard core of practical Zionism – Zionism as it is, not as it may be,” Gurvitz wrote, “who decided Israel would be a Jewish country and not a democratic one.”

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