A decision made by the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs to allow admission committees in the Galilee and Negev to filter candidates seeking to live in their communities has been approved in a preliminary vote by the Knesset plenum Wednesday.
The bill was unofficially dubbed the "High Court- Kaadan bypass law", after Arab citizen Adel Kaadan, who fought for years to be able to live in the northern community of Katzir, and was finally allowed to do so following a High Court ruling.
Two identical bills were approved during the hearing – one on behalf of MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) along with other members of Knesset, and the other on behalf of MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu). Both bills were approved with by an overwhelming majority.
The bill is intended to bypass a High Court ruling, according to which Jewish communities' admission policies were discriminatory against Arabs.
The bill will allow admission committees in the Galilee and Negev communities to filter candidates according to their age and financial ability to set up a home in the community within a period of time stated in a real estate rights agreement, as well as in accordance with their suitability to the community's way of life and social fabric.
'Laws of the white man's rule'
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) criticized the bill, calling it "racism disguised as social homogeneity. It's the laws of the white man's rule."
MK Rotem responded to Tibi and said: "You are the biggest racists. Don't blame us for wanting to preserve Israel as a Jewish state."
"When I want to live in an Arab village I am not allowed to do so. Am I a racist? You are racists," Rotem added, "I do not prevent you from forming a cooperative association strictly for Arabs."
"You are revealing the true racist motivations behind this bill," Tibi responded to Rotem and continued to say "this bill is the embodiment of racism.
"Israel's book of laws contains abominable, immoral rulings fit for the white man's rule in South Africa. They confiscate Arab lands and refuse to build them villages while blocking their access to Jewish communities in the name of social homogeneity," Tibi added.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report