Haaretz

MK set to propose bill enabling communities for Jews only



Last Update: 11/10/2004 19:13

MK set to propose bill enabling communities for Jews only

By Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondent

The Knesset presidium voted on Monday to allow National Union MK Zvi Hendel to propose a bill enabling the establishment of communities for Jews only, sparking charges of racism.

If passed, the law would allow for the establishment of communities comprised of no more than 500 families "that seek to preserve the community character and will be designated for the residency of one specific people only."

Hendel said the purpose of the bill was to allow for the creation of communities for Jews only.

The presidium decision, which allows Hendel to present his bill for a preliminary reading in 45 days, comes despite a 2000 High Court of Justice ruling prohibiting discrimination on the basis of national identity in the allotment of land.

"This is a racist bill that has no place in the law books," said Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh, calling it "anti-democratic" and "a constitutional abomination."

Knesset members in favor of bringing the bill to the Knesset plenum for a vote include Moshe Kahlon (Likud), Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Hemi Doron (Shinui), Nissim Dahan (Shas). Opposing MKs include Barakeh and Eli Ben-Menahem (Labor). Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) abstained.

In March 2000, the High Court ruled that the policy of transferring state land to the Jewish Agency for the purpose of creating communities for Jews only was illegal.

About a week ago, the state decided to cancel a tender for land in Carmiel that was allocated only for Jews after a petition was filed against the tender.

SOURCE

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