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Nation-State Bill allows ‘discrimination and exclusion based on ethnic origin,’ Rivlin says in damning letter

FILE PHOTO: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
מארק ניימן / לע”מ

Israel’s president issued a public call against new legislation that could allow separate communities to be established for Jews only, calling it discriminatory. In a letter published Tuesday, President Reuven Rivlin expressed concern that approving the contentious article of the so-called Nation-state BIll would harm Jews around the world.

According to Rivlin, he is “concerned that the broad nature of this article, that has no balance, could harm the Jewish people and Jews around the world and in Israel, and could even be used by our enemies as a weapon.”

The Proposed Nation-state Law Is Discriminatory and Nationalistic | 

Rivlin continued in this unusual letter, calling on the committee to “take a look at Israeli society and ask: in the name of the Zionist vision, are we willing to support discrimination and exclusion of men and women based on their ethnic origin?”

The first version of the bill was approved in first vote by the Knesset in April.

Clause 7b of this bill specifically states that “the state can allow a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to maintain an exclusive community.”

President Rivlin wrote of this clause that “it would essentially allow any community to establish residential communities that exclude Sephardic Jews, ultra-Orthodox people, Druze, LGBT people. Is that what the Zionist vision means?”

This clause raises constitutional problems. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said that “there is no place for such a clause in its present form.” Attorney Eyal Zandberg of the Attorney General’s office added that “this is blatant discrimination this means that the residents selection committee can hang up a sign saying ‘no entry to non-Jews.’”

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