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Israel is cementing apartheid by ‘enshrine discrimination on the basis of religion, race and nationality’, local media warns

June 7, 2023 at 1:04 pm

Fanatic Jewish settlers holding Israeli flags take part in an annual flag day march passing through the Damascus Gate to Old City of Jerusalem on May 18, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel is undertaking steps to “legally enshrine discrimination on the basis of religion, race and nationality,” the Haaretz newspaper said in an editorial, warning against the adoption of a bill to expand the applicability of the so-called “Admissions Committees Law”.

The discriminatory bill will be brought up for its first of four required Knesset votes today after having been approved earlier this week by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. Introduced in 2011, Admissions Committees Law legalises “Admission Committees” that operate in hundreds of small community towns built on state land in the Naqab (Negev) and Galilee.

The law gives Admission Committees, bodies that select applicants for housing units and plots of land, almost full discretion to accept or reject individuals from living in these towns. The committees include a representative from the Jewish Agency or the World Zionist Organisation, quasi-governmental entities. In practice, they filter out Arab Palestinian applicants and others from marginalised groups.

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The amendment to the 2011 law would expand the applicability of the legislation from townships with 400 households to those with up to 1,000 households.

The Haaretz editorial noted how the “vague wording enables discrimination.” Primarily this is directed at Palestinians, then Arab Jews known as Mizrahi Jews and non-European Israelis arriving from Ethiopia. Proponents of the law are also clear that the intention of the amendment is racial segregation, argues the editorial, pointing out they cite the need to “Judaize the Galilee,” thereby revealing that it is meant to give preference to Jews.

Dismissing claims that the law is needed to protect “community life”, the paper’s editors said: “This isn’t about communitarianism, but an attempt to legally enshrine discrimination on the basis of religion, race and nationality.” It is argued that discrimination on the basis of race and religion will expand to big cities in Israel. “Why should residents of large ‘communal towns’ have the option of screening their neighbors, but not residents of specific city neighborhoods?” Haaretz asked, arguing that the amendment will be expanded across Israel under the most far-right government in Israel’s history.

The bill is said to be part of a broader agenda called “Zionism”, but whose essence is Jewish supremacy in the spirit of the Nation-State Law. It’s a follow-up to the cabinet discussion of a resolution meant to give Jews preference in land allocations.

Expanding laws legalising racial and religious discrimination of non-Jewish citizens of Israel will further support the near universal consensus of the international human rights community that the occupation state is practising apartheid.

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