FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2014
Independent Jewish Voices opposes Israel’s Jewish nation-state law. Dismayed at Harper Government’s silence
VANCOUVER — Sliding under the radar last week in most Canadian media was a proposed bill, approved by the Israeli cabinet, that would officially define Israel as “the national homeland of the Jewish people” and make traditional Jewish law the basis of the country’s legal system, even though nearly a quarter of the population is not Jewish.
“This proposed law is yet another example that Israel is not a democracy for all of its citizens,” said Sid Shniad, spokesperson for Independent Jewish Voices – Canada. “The government seems determined to make it clear to the world that Israel is, indeed, an apartheid state which privileges one people over others.”
The bill, which would also eliminate Arabic as Israel’s official second language, demoting it to a “special status,” has been roundly condemned by Israeli commentators and legal scholars, including its president, Reuven Rivlin. Because of the tremendous controversy the bill has generated, a parliamentary vote on it scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed.
“We are not only concerned about what is happening in Israel. We are also dismayed that our Prime Minister has remained totally silent on this issue,” said Shniad. “The European Union and even the U.S. State Department have publicly expressed their concerns about the proposed new law. But from the Harper Government, not a word. This is very disturbing.”