Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi was quick Sunday to condemn the Cabinet’s approval of a controversial proposal requiring non-Jews seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
“The government of Israel has become subservient to Yisrael Beiteinu and its fascist doctrine,” said Tibi. “No other state in the world would force its citizens or those seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to an ideology.”
“Israel has proven that it is not equal and is a democracy for Jews and not for Arabs,” he added.
The amendment is one of the promises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to Yisrael Beitenu in the coalition agreements. Since coming into government Yisrael Beitenu has advanced a long list of “loyalty” laws, which many consider to be discriminatory against Israel’s Arab citizens.
Gideon Levy writes:
Remember this day. It’s the day Israel changes its character. As a result, it can also change its name to the Jewish Republic of Israel, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Granted, the loyalty oath bill that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to have passed purportedly only deals with new citizens who are not Jewish, but it affects the fate of all of us.
From now on, we will be living in a new, officially approved, ethnocratic, theocratic, nationalistic and racist country. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t affect him is mistaken. There is a silent majority that is accepting this with worrying apathy, as if to say: “I don’t care what country I live in.” Also anyone who thinks the world will continue to relate to Israel as a democracy after this law doesn’t understand what it is about. It’s another step that seriously harms Israel’s image.