Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Druze leaders

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday after meeting with Druze leaders to discuss the Nation State Law that he would set up a team headed by his chief of staff Yoav Horowitz to formulate recommendations on strengthening ties with the community.

“There are unending attempts to rescind the definition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said, after a meeting with Druze Likud Minister Ayoub Kara and Druze local council heads as part of ongoing talks over the Nation State Law, which has triggered protests in the community.

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“We legislated the Nation State Law in order to ensure that Israel will remain the nation-state of our people – this is the purpose of the state’s existence. The law does not detract at all from the individual rights of anybody. It is designed to make the necessary legal balance, for which the time has come, in order to ensure the character of the State of Israel.”

However Netanyahu acknowledged that the Druze were “describing genuine feelings” and that the government must find a solution.

“I will continue [holding] consultations,” Netanyahu said. “We will establish a team led by chief of staff Yoav Horowitz and we will submit forthwith recommendations for actions that will strengthen the important ties between us.”

Last week, Druze MKs, Akram Hasson, (Kulanu), Hamad Amar, (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Salah Sa’ad (Zionist Union) together with community leaders and some 100 Druze reserve officers filed a High Court of Justice petition against the law, claiming it ignores the Druze minority and the Arab minority in general, and violates the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

The petitioners seek to nullify the law and to prevent its publication in the state’s Official Gazette, whereby it officially becomes law. They argue that the law violates fundamental rights such as the right to equality, and doesn’t give equal status to non-Jewish minorities.

The Nation State Law stipulates that Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people” and that “the right to realize national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” The bill also enshrines the Israeli flag and the national anthem into law along with Jerusalem as the state’s eternal capital, as well as defining Hebrew as the country’s only official state language, relegating Arabic to a ‘special status.’

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