Home Politics 15/June/2022 10:53 AM

Israeli government relies on the racist Jewish Nation-State Law to justify a new policy – rights group

Israeli government relies on the racist Jewish Nation-State Law to justify a new policy – rights group

HAIFA, Wednesday, June 15, 2022 (WAFA) - In an unprecedented move, the Israeli Ministry of Education (MoE) justified a policy aimed against Palestinian citizens of Israel, citing the 2018 racist Jewish Nation-State Basic Law, today said Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

As part of its 2.4 billion Israeli shekels ($691 million) “Administrative Pedagogical Flexibility” program, in which schools will be permitted to autonomously select educational programs, the MoE banned the participation of external providers who refuse to sign a statement adhering to Zionist values.

The ministry’s position was sent to Adalah, following a Jerusalem District Court order on a petition filed by Adalah on behalf of the National Committee of Arab Mayors, the Follow-up Committee on Arab Education, and the Al-Tufula Center.

Adalah Attorney Salam Irsheid submitted the petition on 13 April 2022 after the MoE published a tender requiring that providers were required to sign a statement declaring that their proposed plans "shall not include an external party whose goals or actions, or statements include ‘the denial of the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state’ or ‘marking Israel’s official Independence Day as a day of mourning’.” These terms are taken verbatim from Israel’s “Nakba Law” (Amendment No. 40 to the Budgets Foundations Law), which Adalah petitioned against to the Israeli Supreme Court in 2011.

In its response, the ministry acknowledged that the conditions for participating in the bidding process indeed “limit freedom of expression and criticism”, but added that such limitation is made by virtue of the powers conferred on it by law, relying on the Jewish Nation-State Law.

The Ministry noted that refusing to abide by the requirements “frontally and clearly negate the spirit of Israel’s basic laws, including provisions of the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People which determines that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and that Independence Day is Israel’s official national holiday”.

Following this response, the court rejected the MoE request to dismiss the petition and ordered Adalah to amend it by 30 June 2022, so it would include a response to the legal position expressed by the MoE.

Adalah attorney Salam Irsheid commented: "If anyone had any further doubts as to the practical implications of the Jewish Nation-State Law, the Ministry of Education now uses it as a central source to openly and overtly justify the violation of fundamental rights including freedom of expression. This erroneous legal argument demonstrates how Israel uses racist laws to delegitimize the Palestinian historical narrative and collective identity. Therefore, the ministry's response reinforces the arguments made in the petition, and the court should discuss it soon to put a stop to these silencing efforts, which include the Education Minister's recent attack against presenting Palestinian flags in universities."


Related News

Read More