The Israeli parliament (Knesset) approved the Nationality Law in its second and third readings on Wednesday night, with 62 MKs votes in favor, 55 against, and two abstentions.
The Law identifies Israel as a Jewish nation, establishes Hebrew as its sole official language while giving Arabic special standing, declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and sets the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of the state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the law, saying “This is a defining moment in the history of Zionism and the State of Israel. We have established in law the basic principle of our existence. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
While Israeli MKs welcomed the bill, calling it historic for the Jewish people, Arab MKs of the Joint List got up and tore the bill before they were removed from the hall.
MK Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, said in response to the Nationality Law: “Separation, discrimination and racism are now enshrined in law. This is the law of Jewish superiority that excludes more than 20 percent of the population. This is a law that is entirely intended to defy, divide, disparage and continue the incitement of the Netanyahu government. Three years into its term, the government has lost all shame and dignity, it exposes its hypocrisy and proves that the word democracy is not worthy of even being written as far as it is concerned.”