Acceptance committees debate heats up in Knesset


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli lawmaker accused some immigrants of being "fascist" during a debate over two bills that would allow Israeli communities to reject potential residents.

"This country is Jewish and democratic: Democratic towards Jews, and Jewish toward Arabs," Ahmed Tibi told the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee Tuesday. "All of the Arabs were born here, and not all Jews were born here. Some are immigrants, and some are fascist immigrants."

The bills come after several Jewish communities in northern Israel denied permission to Arabs requesting residence, Haaretz reported.

One bill was proposed by lawmakers Israel Hasson and Shai Hermesh of the center Kadima Party, the other by David Rotem of Yisrael Beiteinu.

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the residence committees are illegal.

The committees were established originally to allow communal settlements to reject potential residents due to their lower economic status or incompatibility with the settlement’s lifestyle.

Rotem said he was not ashamed of his bill.

"When I want to establish a Jewish town, I am not ashamed of it," he said.

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