On Monday the 24 February, Israel’s Knesset passed a controversial new bill that will create a legal distinction between Muslim and Christian Arabs, categorizing them as “non-Arabs,” a separate minority.
The bill, which concerns the creation of new positions on Israel’s Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity, has drawn criticism from those who see it as an attempt to divide the Palestinian community living within Israel. Drafted by Minister Yariv Levin of Netanyahu’s Likud party, the bills promises to create equal employment opportunities for Christian Arabs.
In an interview with the Israeli daily Maariv, Levin explained the reasoning behind this categorization: “It’s a historic and important step that could balance the State of Israel and connect us to the Christians, and I am careful not to refer to them as Arabs, because they are not Arabs.”
“We and the Christians have a lot in common,” he said, “They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims who want to destroy the country from within. On the other hand, there’s a message here: We will use an iron hand and demonstrate zero tolerance of Arabs who are liable to identify with the terror of the Palestinian state.”
Arabs make up a 1.7 million minority (about 20%) of Israel’s 8 million people. Arab Christians constitute 120,000 of that minority.
Read the article: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/details.php?id=t7lmnga6403yd5x77i21f.