Rabbis Condemn First Use of Israel’s Nation-State Law to Justify Discrimination

RELEASE DATE: November 30, 2020

T’ruah: “Today we see the beginnings of where the law’s path will lead us.”

NEW YORK — Today, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities, issued the following statement condemning an Israeli court’s ruling that cites the controversial nation-state law as justification to deny Arab school children reimbursement to access Arabic-language education which is not available in their town of Carmiel.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, released the following statement in response to the court’s dismissal of the Carmiel case:

“Today, Israel’s new nation-state law was cited for the first time since its establishment in 2018 to justify discrimination against Arab citizens. As this law was being debated, it drew condemnation from T’ruah and other Jewish organizations across the world, as well as from Israeli civil and human rights leaders, precisely because of the danger that it would be used to justify legal discrimination.

“It is now clearer than ever that the nation-state law endangers Israeli democracy, legalizes discrimination against 20 percent of Israeli citizens, and threatens the very future of Israel. Today we see the beginnings of where the law’s path will lead us. This law violates both the biblical commandment that there should be one law for everyone who lives in the Land of Israel — whether Jewish or not — as well as the assertion in Israel’s Declaration of Independence that the country ‘will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.’

“Today, we stand with Palestinian citizens of Israel who are facing a new attack on their rights as equal citizens of the state, as well as with all Israelis who are working for a future based in shared society, and in a commitment to democracy and equality for all.”

About T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.