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Netanyahu to hold meeting on nation-state law following objections by Druze

Education Minister and Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett said the nation-state law “deeply hurt” the Druze community, an ethno-religious minority group in Israel, adding that the government must “find a way to heal this wound.”

Shaykh Muwaffak Tarif (center), spiritual leader of the Israeli Druze community, attends a conference of the Zionist Druze Movement in Herzliya on July 16, 2018. Photo by Flash90.
Shaykh Muwaffak Tarif (center), spiritual leader of the Israeli Druze community, attends a conference of the Zionist Druze Movement in Herzliya on July 16, 2018. Photo by Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly convene a meeting to re-examine the controversial nation-state law passed last week after an outcry by the Druze community.

Earlier on Wednesday, Education Minister and Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett said the nation-state law “deeply hurt” the Druze community, an influential ethno-religious minority group in Israel, adding that the government must “find a way to heal this wound.”

“After discussions with many of our Druze brothers, it appears that the way the nation-state law was legislated deeply hurt the very people who have linked their fate to the Jewish state,” Bennett wrote on Twitter. “This, of course, was not the intent of the government of Israel. These are our blood brothers, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us on the battlefield and have forged a life-covenant with us. It is our responsibility, as the government of Israel, to find a way to heal this wound.”

According to reports, Bennett may push for an amendment to the nation-state law for the Druze. However, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu will not consider amending the law, but is open to over ideas on reviewing the situation for the Druze.

Druze officials and Knesset member Akram Hasson of the Kulanu Party filed a petition on Sunday asking Israel’s Supreme Court to strike down the nation-state law.

Israel passed the nation-state bill on July 19 as one of its Basic Laws. The bill codifies many of Israel’s national symbols, such as the national anthem, the Israeli flag, national holidays and the calendar as Jewish.

Some objected to the new law, saying that it unfairly discriminates against Israel’s non-Jewish minority, which comprise about 20 percent of the population.

A unique ethno-religious group, Israel is home to around 135,000 Druze. Unlike other Arabic-speaking minority groups, Druze are drafted in the Israel Defense Forces, and also serve in top positions in the Israeli government and police force.

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