Shaked Warns High Court against Revoking Jewish Nation-State Law

An arial view of the West Bank settlement Modiin Illit

Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System

Palestinian leaders in Israel petitioned the High Court on Tuesday over the new Jewish nation-state law, the latest addition to Israel's Basic Law, that passed in the Knesset last month.

Filed by legal rights group Adalah, the petition said the law passed by the Knesset last month is "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights and contravenes global human rights norms, especially those forbidding laws that constitute a racist constitution", according to a statement.

Ma'an reported that, according to the Times of Israel, during an interview with the official Israeli Army Radio, Shaked said that the Israeli High Court has no right to strike down the law on constitutional grounds, because it was passed as a Basic Law. Opponents say the law legitimizes discrimination against Israeli Arabs, who make up roughly 20 percent of the population.

"Any law that denies Palestinians their civil and national rights is racist, colonialist and illegitimate", it said.

Protesters wave Israeli and Druze flags at a demonstration in Tel Aviv against the nation-state law, on August 4, 2018.

The Basic Laws of Israel are the constitutional laws that can only be changed by a super-majority vote in the Israeli Knesset, hence the constitutional underpinning of the Israeli justice system. "For Netanyahu, we are second-class citizens, not equal members in a democracy that works for the benefit of all its citizens".

Shaked said that the law does not harm minorities but added that measures should be taken to "deal with the pain of the Druze community".

Israel, which lacks a traditional constitution, holds its basic laws as preeminent, as they are meant to guide the judiciary and require a supramajority in parliament in order to be overturned.

The nation-state law does not "contradict or supersede the basic laws that protect and guarantee individual rights of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender", she wrote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday said he intends to form a special ministerial committee in his bid to appease the Druze community's outrage over the law.

Thus to argue that the nation-state law is undemocratic because it doesn't mention equality or minority rights is like arguing that the U.S. Constitution is undemocratic because Articles I and II confer broad powers on the legislature and executive without mentioning the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

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