Over 30,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters demonstrated in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square Saturday evening against the Jewish Nation-State Law. The protest, organized by the umbrella organization of Palestinian citizens in Israel, was one of several actions taken against the law, including petitions to the High Court of Justice as well as smaller demonstrations across the country. Saturday’s protest came a week after tens of thousands of Druze citizens came out to Rabin Square to protest the same law.
Twenty-six political parties, movements, and civil society organizations, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Peace Now, Sikkuy, Mossawa, and Amnesty International, called on the public to participate in the event. Hundreds of buses headed out from 70 different locations across the country, including from Druze and Bedouin villages.
Palestinian citizens take part in a protest against the Jewish Nation-State Law, central Tel Aviv, August 12, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
The march ended with a rally outside the museum, and included remarks by Arab High Monitoring Committee Chairman Muhammad Barakeh, prominent Israeli sociologist Professor Eva Illouz, historian Professor Kais Firro, and Haaretz publisher Amos Schoken, among others.
“Not all Arabs and Jews think the same. But all the Jews and Arabs here came out in droves to the square to wipe out the abomination and erase the stain of Netanyahu and his government’s Jewish Nation-State Law. We will also erase the stain that is his government,” Barakeh told the crowd.
“I came to France from Morocco when I was 10 years old,” Eva Illouz told the crowd. “Although I was Jewish and from Morocco, I went to the same schools as the French, and my teachers gave me grades just like the French. I felt that I wasn’t defined by my origin or religion. As a girl I felt deep in my bones the meaning of living in a country where I am treated as an equal.”
Following Ghaneim, Haaretz publisher Amos Schoken got up to speak. “Seventy years ago, Israel was established by a declaration that defined it as a Jewish state that will be open to Jewish immigration, that will foster the development of the country for its residents, and maintain full equality of civil and political rights for all its citizens irrespective of religion, race or gender.”
“There are deep disagreements about Israel’s identity and direction among those present tonight,” Schocken said. “But when a Basic Law harms the Palestinian minority in Israel, we must come together in order to ensure equal rights for all… the goal is clear: Palestinian citizens will be considered lesser.”
Meron Rapoport contributed to this report.