(March 8, 2019 / Israel Hayom) Blue and White Party chairman Benny Gantz visited the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel on Thursday to meet with leaders of the Druze community and discuss with them, among other things, the controversial nation-state law.
“All citizens who live in the state of Israel want to be normal citizens, and [giving them that] isn’t doing them a favor,” Gantz told them.
“We want to give you [Druze] what is rightfully yours,” he added.
According to Gantz, “It was important to first come to the Druze community, to hear and listen to you. We came to tell you that we are working on your behalf, so that we can look the small child in the eyes and tell him that in 40 years, too, the state of Israel will be a good place to live. We heard and listened to the very basic demands for equality, and the Druze community is proving this is possible.”
Other members of Blue and White joined Gantz, among them former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Yesh Atid Knesset member Elazar Stern and Druze Knesset hopeful Gadeer Mreeh, who addressed the audience.
Daliyat al-Karmel Mayor Rafik Halabi, who also spoke at the event, lambasted the controversial nation-state law, which some allege discriminates against minorities in Israel, including the Druze.
“Our struggle against the law is not over the dominance of Jewish culture, nor is it over the Law of Return or the flag; rather, it is a real fight over our Israeliness, our citizenship, the depth of our belonging and the essence of identity,” said Halabi.
“Party platforms change and are sometimes swept away by coalitional interests. I have one platform: Druze, Israeli, with full equality in a Jewish and democratic state. They used to talk to us about a ‘blood covenant,’ now they are talking about a ‘life covenant.’ This is nonsense. There are no covenants, there are no interests. We are rooted in this land. This is our country.”
Proponents of the law say its purpose is to entrench the Jewish majority’s right to self-determination and that equal rights for the country’s non-Jewish citizens are both self-evident and entrenched in other basic laws.