Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is “not a state of all its citizens”

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Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting Israel was the ‘nation state only of the Jewish people’. Photograph: Gali Tibbon/AP
The prime minister has been accused of demonizing Israeli Arabs in lead-up to April’s election.

By Agence France-Presse | The Guardian | Mar 10, 2019

‘Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people — and only it.’
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel is “not a state of all its citizens,” in a reference to the country’s Arab population.

In comments on Instagram, the prime minister went on to say all citizens, including Arabs, had equal rights, but he referred to a deeply controversial law passed last year declaring Israel the nation state of the Jewish people.

“As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel. They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government,” he said of his rightwing party.

As the comments caused waves in Israel, Netanyahu again spoke of the issue at the start of a cabinet meeting. He called Israel a “Jewish, democratic state” with equal rights, but “the nation state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people.”

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