Druze, Circassian leaders say nation-state bill ‘perpetuates discrimination’

The leaders of Israel’s Circassian and Druze communities say the revised version of the nation-state bill will perpetuate discrimination against Israel’s n on-Jewish minority, and are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to nix the controversial legislation.

In a letter, the leaders say the legislation “fails to mention the role of the Druze and Circassian communities in Israel or ensure their rights.”

“Since the establishment of the state, the Druze community has lost more than 75 percent of its land,” the letter says.

“In the Druze villages, there is a severe housing shortage, and not a single housing project has even been built there,” the letter says. “Declaring that the state will encourage Jewish settlement means perpetuating discrimination.”

Earlier this week, a clause sanctioning housing discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion in the nation-state bill was replaced with a declaration celebrating “Jewish settlement” in general terms amid heavy backlash.

Clause 7B of the Likud-sponsored legislation, which the government hopes to have approved by the end of the month, previously would have allowed the state to “authorize a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community.”

Politicians, legal advisers and others have warned that that version of the so-called Jewish State bill is discriminatory and could cast a dark shadow over Israel in the international arena.

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