Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel is home only for the Jewish people, ignoring Arab citizens who make up 20 per cent of its population.
On Twitter, he wrote: “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.”
His comments came in response to the Israeli actor Rotem Sela, who criticised Netanyahu because he had several times said his political rival would form a government with Arabs.
“When the hell will someone in this government tell the public that Israel is a country of all its citizens,” Sela wrote on her Instagram story.
Netanyahu claimed: “As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel,” claiming that they “have equal rights” like all of the other Israeli citizens.
Ignoring the tight measures his government is imposing on Arab citizens, even in the occupied territories, he claimed that the Likud government “has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government.”
Netanyahu has previously been accused of using the Arab population to scaremonger. Ahead of the 2015 general election he claimed that Israelis must vote for Likud to counter Palestinian citizens of Israel going to the polls “in droves”. The statement was thought to have secured Netanyahu his victory, though he was later lambasted for his tactics and forced to apologise for his statement.