Monday, 23. July 2018

The Knesset passed early Thursday, July 20, the highly controversial and racist Jewish Nation-State Law that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” In a stormy Knesset plenum session, 62 lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation and 55 opposed it.

Hadash and leading Communist Party member Dov Khenin (Joint List) protested on Wednesday, July 18, the current official visit to Israel by Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban, censuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his embrace of the racist European political leader who once praised a former Nazi ally. Orban arrived in Israel early on Wednesday evening.

The Knesset has passed an amendment to an income tax law that exempts from taxes any payments, services and benefits from Israel’s state treasury to the prime minister, or to former prime ministers, that are connected to work they have done or do in their political role.

The bill, sponsored by MK Miki Zohar (Likud), passed with 50 MKs in support and 44 against. According to a statement released by the Knesset, hundreds of objections were raised to the bill.

The “Breaking the Silence Law” initiated by far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) was approved by the Knesset overnight Monday, July 16, in its second and third readings. Breaking the Silence is made up of Israeli army veterans who seek to raise awareness of the effects of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its siege of the Gaza Strip.

The law states that “extreme leftist organizations that operate against IDF soldiers and against the goals of state education will not be able to enter school grounds and meet with students.” The law authorizes the Minister of Education to determine the rules that will prevent entry to educational institutions of “external elements who act against the goals of education and against the Israel Defense Forces.”

Seven thousand protesters marched through central Tel Aviv on Saturday night, July 14, to protest the controversial, government-sponsored “nation-state bill,” calling it racist and discriminatory. Under the banner “This is home for all of us,” public figures, MKs from Hadash and Meretz, and peace and social activists addressed the demonstration, in which participants marched from Rabin Square to Dizengoff Center. The bill is expected to be brought before the Knesset tonight (Monday) for a final vote.

Far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s faced a challenge to his authoritarian power Tuesday, July 10, when President Reuven Rivlin, the attorney general’s office, and the Knesset’s legal adviser joined forces in opposing the PM’s flagship legislation, the racist Jewish Nation-State bill.

Rivlin wrote a letter to MKs criticizing a section of the bill that declares “The state may allow a community, including members of one religion or of one nationality, to maintain a separate communal settlement.” According to Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List), “this bill would enshrine apartheid.”

Israeli’s Supreme Court issued a second temporary injunction on Monday evening, July 10, forbidding the state from carrying out plans to evacuate and demolish an occupied West Bank Arab-Bedouin village, days after initially postponing the plan. Monday’s ruling came in the wake of an urgent petition by a group of lawyers representing the community of Khan al-Ahmar near the large West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and followed a similar one issued by the court last Thursday, July 6.

In their initial plea to the court, the attorneys representing the residents of Khan al-Ahmar claimed that the Civil Administration refused to review a plan submitted by the villagers to legalize the village prior to ordering its demolition.

The Israeli military released from prison on Tuesday, July 3, occupation objector Ayelet Brachfeld after incarcerating her for four prison terms totaling 100 days. Brachfeld refused to be conscripted into compulsory military service due to her opposition to the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

With her release the army’s conscientious objection committee granted Brachfeld an exemption from military service based on her claim of refusing conscription for reasons of conscience. This is in contrast to most other objectors to the occupation who have been imprisoned and who are ultimately excused from service for “serious misconduct,” “unsuitability,” or who are given psychological exemptions.

Israel’s High Court of Justice issued an injunction on Thursday night, July 5, temporarily holding up the planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank that has become the focus of Palestinian protests and international concern.

The court injunction, issued a day after security forces sparked scuffles at the site by deploying bulldozers, gave the state until next Wednesday, July 11, to respond to the villagers’ contention that they had been unfairly denied building permits, said Ala’a Mahajna, the lawyer representing them.

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