January 30, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "MEM" - The Knesset yesterday voted against a draft bill proposed by MK Jamal Zahalka of the Joint Arab List, which stipulates the inclusion of an equality clause in Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
The majority of the Likud bloc, the Haredi parties and Kulanu party voted against the proposal. They were joined by Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid. However, the Joint List, Meretz and the Labour parties all supported the bill.
During his proposal, Zahalka said: “All constitutions in modern countries begin with stressing the principle of equality amongst their citizens. Even undemocratic countries adopt this principle legally, considering it a cornerstone for any modern political system, including democracy, which seems impossible and meaningless without equality.”
Zahalka also said that equality is a principle in itself and is not based on any other principles, rather, other human rights values are derived from it. He described the absence of equality in the state’s Basic Law as “a serious absence, as it forces the judiciary, amongst others, to explain why the word equality is missing from the basic laws, which are in place of the constitution.”
He added that Judge Aharon Barack explained the current law as human dignity that must also include the principle of equality. This is why we must include the word equality in a clear manner in the Basic Law.
“Anyone voting against the law is voting against equality, and does not have the right to promote democracy or say they are against discrimination and racism. The entire world adopts the principle of equality in their laws, and this is the only country that does not embrace equality in its laws. This is clear proof of the state’s nature,” Zahalka stressed.