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Former Israel minister describes nation-state law as 'self-incrimination of Israel'

Israeli representative Yossi Beilin (L) and Palestinian representative Yasser Abed Rabbo hold a joint press conference during the Foro de Formentor in Mallorca, 08 October 2004 [AFP PHOTO/ Jaime REINA / Getty]
Israeli representative Yossi Beilin (L) and Palestinian representative Yasser Abed Rabbo hold a joint press conference during the Foro de Formentor in Mallorca, 08 October 2004 [AFP PHOTO/ Jaime REINA / Getty]

Former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin on Thursday described the Israeli nation-state law as "self-incrimination of Israel" and "contrary to everything that Judaism represents."

In an article published by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Beilin said that the nation-state law: "Provides a reference to repeated claims by its [Israel's] enemies… [It] is a ringing slap in the face to anyone who supports Israel in the world."

Beilin wrote his article after the Israeli Senior Registrar Yaniv Luzon at Krayot Magistrate's Court rejected a petition filed by children in the Israeli town of Karmiel, who sought reimbursement for their bus fares to Arab schools outside the town which has no Arab schools.

Luzon of the Israeli Krayot Magistrate's Court cited the nation-state law as grounds to reject the petition filed by the two Arab siblings.

"Karmiel, a Jewish city, was founded to strengthen Jewish settlement in Galilee," he wrote in his decision, claiming that "establishing an Arabic-language school… [and] funding school transportation for Arab students, for anyone who needs it anywhere, could change the demographic balance of the city and damage its character."

"The decision is one of the despicable fruits of the nation-state law… which is a ringing slap on the face to anyone who supports Israel in the world," Beilin expressed.

Beilin confirmed that the Israeli Supreme Court is due to head petitions against the law filed by 11 judges by the end of this month, hoping that the court: "Will not use silk gloves and will be brave enough to return it to the Knesset, and demand – at least – significant changes."

Opinion: It is time to make it official and brand Israel as an apartheid state

He noted that the Blue and White party's promise to make changes to the law: "Will not come true, mainly because it has no parliamentary power to do so."

The former Israeli minister concluded his article, stating that: "Preventing the reimbursement of travel expenses to an Arab school from two siblings does not encourage Jewish settlement, but racism in its name."

On the court's ruling against the two Arab students, Israeli journalist Orly Noy wrote:

The 'Jewish city' of Karmiel, whose character the chief registrar is so concerned about, was established in 1964 on land confiscated from surrounding Arab villages.

Noy added: "Karmiel is one of more than 700 communities the state has built for the Jewish population since Israel's founding, compared with none built for the Arab population – apart from a few towns in the Negev designed for the orderly resettlement of Bedouins whose lands the state coveted."

He continued: "Though the two populations have grown at a similar rate since 1948, the apartheid land-use policy, which confiscates land from one population to build towns for the other, has so constricted Arab towns geographically that many of their residents have been forced to find housing in nearby Jewish towns."

"But apartheid is unhappy with that too, apparently. It does not want Arabs in Jewish towns, and it also does not want to let them live on their own lands, separately. On the one hand, outright theft; on the other, a sense of superiority and racial purity."

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