“We want equality!” chanted 90,000 people at an unprecedented demonstration led by the Druze community in protest against the racist Nation-State Law at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, on Saturday night, August 4. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cancel the protest in a meeting with Druze leaders.
Key speaker at the gathering was Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Assad, who in a Facebook post accused Netanyahu of turning Israel into an apartheid state, reportedly causing Netanyahu to abruptly cancel Thursday’s meeting with him and other Druze leaders. “I call for the government to abolish this law,” Assad said.
Protests were also held in Arab towns across the country, including Sakhnin, Majd el-Kurum, Baka, Tira, Rahat, Jaljulya, Kufr Kana, and Wadi Ara where Jews and Arabs protested together, sponsored by High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.
Hundreds of protesters also demonstrated against the law on Saturday night in front of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s house in Haifa. The Communist Party of Israel and Hadash organized the protest. Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) said Kahlon and his Kulanu MKs voted for a racist bill that marks one fifth of the population as inferior and legitimizes discrimination in a Basic Law. She said Kahlon could not expect to receive Arab votes in the next election after that. “We must remember that he and his party stood shoulder to shoulder with the extreme Right to remove us from the circle of equal citizens,” she said. “We will not be citizens only on Election Day. Kahlon, we will judge you and your hypocrisy.”
Next Saturday night, August 11, another mass demonstration sponsored by the Follow-Up Committee will be held at Rabin Square, in Central Tel Aviv, against the racist law.
Earlier in the day, UN High Commissioner for Minority Rights Dr. Fernand de Varennes announced that an investigation had been opened following a complaint filed by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. Israel.
The complaint was filed by Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), and outlines what the committee perceives to be racist sections of the law, namely, “the denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, the violation of the Arabic language and the Arab population’s right to equality as a national minority with collective, cultural linguistic and religious rights.”