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New Law Officially Makes Israel Jewish Nation-State

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19 Jul 2018
New Law Officially Makes Israel Jewish Nation-State
Israel’s Knesset, by a vote of 62-55 with two abstentions, passed the contentious “Jewish Nation-State” bill into law Thursday morning, making it the 14th Basic Law. "122 years after Herzl published his vision, we have stated by law the basic principle of our existence," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said from the Knesset podium. Arab MKs denounced the new law as “racist” and declared that it heralded the “death of our democracy.” The law declares Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and codifies Jewish symbols of the state, including the Menorah on various official documents and seals, the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and national holidays centered around Jewish traditions and customs.

However, a clauses that would have permitted neighborhoods to refuse to allow people of a different ethnicity of religion from moving in and another which would have codified the need for the Israeli government to maintain ties with Jewish people “wherever they are” were removed from the final version of the bill.

Several other bills were passed into law by the Knesset this week, including an update to current legislation to grant state support for pregnancy via surrogacy for married heterosexual couples only, sparking outrage among Israel’s LGBT community. "According to the prime minister’s fluent English, we are in an LGBTQ paradise, but in reality they do not allow us to marry and we are not allowed to have children," Chairman of the LGBTQ Association Hen Azrieli said during a large protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday. "There is a limit to how much ‘no’ we can hear and we will not remain silent until the discrimination ends.”

Europol Signs Cooperation Agreement with Israel Police
The international effort to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat this week when Europol signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Israel Police, following a unanimous vote in favor of the move by law enforcement representatives from the 28 EU governments. In a related development, German airline Lufthansa announced this week that it is adding two new routes from the cities of Frankfurt and Munich to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, to begin operation in October.

Progressive Jewish Groups Endorse BDS Movement
A public letter endorsing the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel was signed by the leadership of 39 Progressive Jewish groups in several different countries around the world and released this week on different media platforms. The letter said in part that “The rise in antisemitic discourse and attacks worldwide is part of that broader trend. At times like this, it is more important than ever to distinguish between the hostility to or prejudice against Jews on the one hand and legitimate critique of Israeli policies and system of injustice on the other."

In response, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that the BDS movement stands “against the one and only Jewish state, continues to be used by many as a thinly veiled guise for their disdain toward the Jewish people. Israel, like many other countries in the world, including the United States, France, the UK and Germany, recognize the antisemitic undertones of the BDS movement, and will continue to point out and fight such sentiment wherever and whenever it reveals itself.”

Sexual Harassment Scandal Rocks Zionist Union
Israel’s main opposition party, the Zionist Union, suffered an embarrassing scandal this week when it was revealed that MK Eitan Broshi had inappropriately touched a female colleague, Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, during a recent work-related trip to Kibbutz Be’eri in the Gaza periphery. The incident, which some ZU insiders said had been blown out of proportion, nonetheless has caused a storm of internal arguments within the party and harmed its public image.

Today's video showcases MASHAV, the Israeli agency for international development


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