Haaretz editorial, July 20:
Every day the Knesset has the option of passing laws that will advance Israel as a democratic Jewish state or turn it into a racist Jewish state. There is a very thin line between the two. This week, the line was crossed. If the Knesset legal counselor did not consider the bill entitled “the Jewish National Fund Law” as sufficiently racist to keep it off the agenda, it is hard to imagine what legislation she will consider racist.
In 1995 the Supreme Court rescued the state from callously discriminating against its Arab citizens through the Ka’adan case, which prohibited the Israel Lands Administration from discriminating against non-Jews by leasing land through the Jewish Agency. Since then the attorney general has stated that such discrimination is unacceptable – also when it is carried out through the Jewish National Fund. The MKs were unable to accept this egalitarian ruling, and on Wednesday a large majority of 65 voted in favor of a preliminary reading permitting such discrimination. The bill is also backed by the head of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Menahem Ben-Sasson.
Any explanation by the supporters of the bill seeking to beautify it should be rejected immediately by anyone who cares about the country’s image. This bill reflects an abasement of the Zionist enterprise to lows never imagined in the Declaration of Independence. Even though the Jewish National Fund purchased the lands for the Jewish people in the Diaspora, the State of Israel has already been established and these lands must now serve all its citizens.