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Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Votes to Cancel Plans to Build Women’s Jail in Lancaster

17 Feb

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, after more than two and a half hours of public comment and before an audience of hundreds, voted on Tuesday, Feb.12, on the motion of the Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to cancel the plans to build a woman’s jail at Mira Loma in Lancaster, California.

Before public comments, Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn said more than 150 people were to speak.

Of the speakers providing public comment, about six spoke in favor of the project, mostly from the building trades unions.  The others spoke against the plan to build the women’s jail.

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Crowd gathers, before the press conference, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, outside the meeting of the Board of Supervisors to protest the building of women’s jail in Lancaster; photo by Barry Saks

To hear the entire Justice LA press conference, click here,

Earlier on the steps outside, Justice Los Angeles and its coalition members, held a press conference, emceed by Eunisses Hernandez, who is the Los Angeles Campaign Coordinator for Just Leadership USA and who said she is a member of the Executive team for the Justice LA Coalition.  Before the press conference, Hernandez, 29, said, “I am here today because I would like the county to prioritize building community-based services in all the districts of the county, instead of focusing on building…one main central facility.”  Hernandez added what is needed are “regional community centers that provide mental health services, health and human services, employment services.”  She was confident the plan would be voted down.  She supported the motions for the studies addressing the problem, “about four.”

After the press conference those gathered marched into the building chanted “Care not cages,” led again by Reggie Bush.

 

 

 

Before the press conference, rallies were held.  At the first, about 50 people, led by Reggie Bunch, the crowd briefly chanted: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, this jail system has got to go;” “Women’s jail has got to go; Men’s central jail has got to go, no more jails, no more jails.”  This toxic jail system has got to go.”  They also chanted: “We need care, we don’t need cages.”

 

 

 

At the second, immediately before the press conference, the protesters outside had grown to more than 100, sometimes chanting, “Jobs not jails,” sometimes chanting, “No more prisons, no more jails” and other times, “We need healing, mental health.”  The chants ended with “Black lives matter here” and “Brown lives matter here.”

Before the press conference, James Nelson, 52, said he was wrongly convicted of murder in 1986 and served 29 years.  I got out because I demonstrated I was suitable for parole.”  Nelson, who is featured on the Dignity and Power Now website, said black and brown are being “locked up” for profit, including the mentally ill, that the mentally ill need services, not criminalization.  Nelson said he first volunteered at DPN, but now works full-time for it.  He said DPN was a grassroots organization.  He said he was planning to speak before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

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Formerly incarcerated James Nelson, who said that he was wrongly convicted of murder and that he got out because he demonstrated he was suitable for parole, planned to speak, on Tuesday, Feb.12, before the Board of Supervisors; photo by Barry Saks

Also before the press conference, Mateo Nagassi, 40, said while he has never been incarcerated, he has two brothers, who are now in state prison, one serving 20 years and the other 24 years.  Nagassi, who identified himself as a member of Reform LA Jails and Dignity and Power Now, said besides being there because of his two brothers, he wants “to stop this cycle of incarceration.”  He added, “We need to start at the bottom, local and move countywide and then statewide.”  He also said instead of spending the money on more prisons, the money would be better spent on focusing on rehabilitation, treatment of addiction and on homelessness.

 

 

 

While UTLA Strikes—UTLA Leaders, LAUSD Settle

23 Jan
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Teachers, students and community allies, Tuesday, Jan. 22, picketing outside of Phineas Banning High School in the Wilmington community of the City of Los Angeles; photo by Barry Saks

A couple hours before the news conference announcing a tentative agreement was reached between the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District, the teacher strike continued into its sixth and last day, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, with students and community members picketing with the teachers, and among the schools being picketed was Phineas Banning High School in the working-class community of Wilmington, a few miles north of the Port of Los Angeles.

Soon after daylight, the picketing began and after a short while at least a hundred people were picketing in front of the school in a circle. Slightly north of the picketing were a couple of school buses. Each had a handful of students stepping down onto the sidewalk.

Among the picketers was Lucia Rodriguez, who teaches English for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades at the high school. Rodriguez, who has been teaching 18 years, before the picketing began, said she was a member of the Contract Action Team and the school had about 120 teachers with all of them on strike. She also said it was good the teachers had a chance to vote on the tentative agreement while on strike because “what if we don’t like the agreement that they reached and we already came back to work.” She added, “It’s fundamentally democratic to do that (vote) while we are out.”

Also, among those out on strike and in support was Dan Castillo, who’s a history teacher at the high school. Castillo was with his two daughters—Daniela Castillo, who’s in the 9th grade at Banning and Dahlia Castillo, who’s in the 12th grade also at Banning. Daniela said, “We support him because we believe in the cause as well. She defined the cause as “more nurses, more funding for our schools, more counselors and librarians, smaller class sizes, control of charter schools and co-locations.” Dahlia said, “We know why we are here and we…fully support our all teachers and all the staff that’s out here with us….and we know that public education is important.”

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On far left, is Dan Castillo, high school history teacher at Phineas Banning High School, the father of Daniela Castillo, who is a 9th grade student at Banning, holding bullhorn, and to the right is Dahlia Castillo, the other daughter of Dan Castillo, a 12th grade student at Banning, leading chants; photo by Barry Saks, Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Dan Castillo, 45, who’s been teaching for 23 years, said he was a product of public education. He added, “I really believe this is ground zero for a war for public education. I don’t think it is just about Los Angeles. I think with the growing charter school movement. I believe there is a serious threat to public education right now and I believe we have to win this war because if we lose here in L.A., they we’ll repeat this formula nationwide.”

While picketing, the teachers, students and community allies chanted: UTLA, UTLA; I don’t know but it’s been said, “Billionaires on the Board of Ed;” Everywhere we go people want to know who we are. So we tell them, “We are the mighty, mighty union, fighting for justice and for education;” Tell me what democracy looks like. “This is what democracy looks like;” We teach, we care, our contract should be fair; Look up, look down, Wilmington is a union town.

Before retirement, Barry Saks was a Service Employees International Union Local 660 (now 721) Shop Steward. He was at different times the Vice Chair and Chair of the bargaining units he was in.

UTLA to Strike LAUSD

12 Jan

United Teachers of Los Angeles, representing more than 33,000 teachers, is poised to strike Monday, Jan. 14, the Los Angeles Unified School District, which UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl recently characterized, as “a strike for our students….for our schools, for educational justice, for racial justice, and to defend the future of public education.”

The district’s website, on Friday, Jan 11, said, “We are extremely disappointed…UTLA has rejected Los Angeles Unified’s revised offer without proposing any counter offer. UTLA has refused to continue contract negotiations. More than 48 hours remain until Monday when UTLA plans to strike, and we implore UTLA to reconsider. A strike will harm the students, families and communities we serve, and we have a responsibility to resolve the situation without a strike.”

Meanwhile, an email in part from the union, also on Friday, said, “Today, just as LAUSD representatives were passing out a new proposal, UTLA bargaining team members began to see on social media that (Superintendent Austin) Beutner was holding a press conference downstairs to review the same proposal. More disrespect – Beutner saying he’s able to bargain “around the clock” but skipping the last two sessions. More bargaining in the media rather than meeting face-to-face with educators (sic).  More lies about what the district has and what the district can do.”

An email from the union sent Thursday, Jan. 10, said that a Superior Court ruled the union could strike.  An email the previous day from the union said it was postponing the strike to avoid confusion.

Scott Mandel, who is the chair of UTLA (San Fernando) Valley East Area, on Monday, Jan. 7, said, “I went through the ’89 strike 29 years ago, we are so much better prepared now than we were then.  Our teachers are more unified now than we were then.”

Mandel, who is also the chair of the union’s National Board Certified Teachers Committee and has a Ph.D. in Education: Curriculum and Development from the University of Southern California, added if there were a strike, it wouldn’t be about money.  He said the union was asking for 6.5 percent and the Los Angeles Unified School District had already agreed to 6 percent.  He said it would be “ridiculous” to strike over the difference.  A strike would be about support for the students.  The union’s demands are for a “class size reduction,” for “a nurse in every school, every day,” for “a full-time librarian in every secondary school,” for more counselors, for the elimination of all testing that isn’t federal or state mandated and for “the regulation of charter growth.”

The UTLA Valley East Chair, who’s been teaching for 34 years at LAUSD, ended passionately.  He said, “Beutner wants this strike, especially after (the) Janus (Decision).  Beutner thinks he can destroy the teachers’ union and turn this into a portfolio district, where schools are given over to privateers and charters…The heart and soul of public schools in LA Unified is on the line right now…This is our Armageddon.”

Kyle Stokes of KPCC, on Wednesday, Jan 2, interviewed Beutner, who became Superintendent in May 2018 and according to the district’s website, a business executive, served as First Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles and publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

The Superintendent said, “We all want the same set of things.  We all want to make sure everyone, who works in the schools, is better paid.  We all want to work to reduce class size and hire more nurses, counselors and librarians.  The challenge is how we do it with the resources we have.”

On the existing contract provision giving the district discretion on class size, the Superintendent said, “We have said for months and the fact-finder agreed with us is we should eliminate that provision and we need to agree on a new provision….UTLA said eliminate that provision and they will not sit down with us to try to agree on a new provision.”

Beutner, regarding the almost $2 billion reserve, said that almost $200 million had already been spent for raises to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, clerical staff and engineers who keep the air conditioners; that about $300 has been set aside for the 6 percent increase for UTLA members; that about $300 million because of law for certain students, as part of a local control funding program; about $250 million has been sent to schools to be spent at school principals’ discretion; and about $100 million for legal settlement, which he said left $700 million.  He insisted the reserves are being spent.  He said, “From an accounting standpoint, you wind up with some funny accounting because the reserves to pay UTLA members continue to grow.”

He added near the end of the interview the experts have told him the district is spending more than it’s bringing in.

 

Long Beach City Council Passes Motion to Fund Immigration Legal Services for the Undocumented

4 Dec

The Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 4, passed a motion to establish the Long Beach Justice Fund, which will be set at $250,000 and administered by the Vera Institute of Justice.

In favor were 1st District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, 2nd District Councilwoman Jeanine Pearce, 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews, 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, 8th District Councilman Al Austin and Vice Mayor and 9th District Councilman Rex Richardson.

Opposed were 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price, 4th District Councilman Daryl Supernaw and 5th District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo.  The three council members who voted against the motion said during the discussion in principle they supported establishing the fund, however, each voted against the motion for different reasons.

The fund will be used to pay for immigration legal services for resident and people working in Long Beach, who earn less than 200 percent of federal poverty level.

 

Long Beach Residents Rally in Solidarity with Central-American Immigrants at US-Mexican Border

30 Nov

 

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Jonathan Solorzano of the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition emcees, Thursday, Nov. 29, the rally in solidarity with Central-American Immigrants at the US-Mexican border; photo by Barry Saks.

While the Long Beach rally in solidarity with the caravan of Central-American immigrants at the United States-Mexican border, was canceled because of wind and rain, about 40 people, on Thursday, Nov. 29, braved the weather at Harvey Milk Promenade Park, 185 E. Third St. to show their solidarity with the migrants and to collect donations for them.

According to the press release issued before the rally, the organizers for the rally were the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition and other community groups.

Jonathan Solorzano, the lead organizer for the LBIRC, emceed.  Solorzano began the rally with the chant: “When immigrants are under attack, what’ll we do?  We’ll stand up and fight back.”  He apologized for the sudden cancelation of the rally and said, however, a short program would follow.  He said, “There was a blatant human rights violation that happened on Sunday, in which the Mexican police attacked the Central-American caravan….This administration (U.S.) has time and time again shown that immigrants south of the border are not welcomed.”

Solorzano introduced the 2nd District Councilwoman Jeanine Pearce.  Pearce said, “I don’t want to target one administration (over another)….We as America has to do right by citizens of the world…. Having a border is one thing.  Having a disagreement on how we go through a process of making sure that people that are seeking asylum, that refugees have a safe place is another thing.  Gassing people at the border is completely unacceptable.”

 

 

Gaby Hernandez, the program manager for the LBIRC, said donations may be delivered to the LBIRC office at 525 E. 7th St., Long Beach until Friday, Nov. 30.

In the same press release, Hernandez said, “Long Beach is against the human rights violations happening at the southern border.  We stand in solidarity with refugees because seeking asylum is their human right.”  “Whether white, black, or brown, we want to join together across our differences and show our support for the refugee community by speaking out on these injustices and collecting essential donations for people in need.”

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Donations collected, Thursday, Nov. 29, at solidarity rally with Central-American immigrants at US-Mexican border; photo by Barry Saks

 

 

Friends of Sabeel of Los Angeles and Orange Counties to Host Educational on Palestine and Israel

7 Nov

Friends of Sabeel of Los Angeles and Orange counties will host an educational conference, which it titled, “No Way to Treat a Palestinian: Gaza, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and Jerusalem,” on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Christ Lutheran Church, 6500 Stearns St., Long Beach, which will feature Donna Baranski-Walker, who is the founder and executive director of the Rebuilding Alliance, a nonprofit organization that helps Palestinian villages build affordable homes and schools.

Barranski-Walker, who was awarded the Medal of Gratitude at Poland’s Gdansk Shipyard in 2010 for her work nearly 30 years before in support of Solidarity, the independent trade union, will speak on the difficulties of working in Gaza.

To visit the Rebuilding Alliance website, click here.

Besides Barranski-Walker speaking, a panel will focus its discussion on Jerusalem.

According to a flyer distributed online before the conference: the conference costs $20, cash at the door; scholarships are available; and inquiries may be sent by email to NW2TAP@gmail.com.

The same flyer listed the conference endorsers as Al-Awda: The Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Episcopal Peace Fellowship/PIN-LA (Palestine-Israel Network), Jewish Voice for Peace, Kairos (propitious moment for action) USA, LA Jews for Peace, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) SW (Southwest California) Synod Middle East Task Force, PAWA-SC: Palestinian American Women’s Association of Southern California, People for Palestinian-Israeli Justice, Presbyterian Synod JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee) and the United Methodist Holy Land Task Force.

To view the flyer, click here.

In emails before the conference, Tony Litwinko, who characterized himself as a member of the conference organizing committee, said, “We in Friends of Sabeel LA and Orange County are very concerned about the decision of the Trump administration to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, but more importantly, in its decision to stop supporting UNRWA and to radically cut support to the Palestinian Authority, impacting educational and health facilities in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories, (w)e offer this conference for the general public in order to educate them about the deep humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the continuing unjust annexation and manipulation of land in the Jerusalem area. We especially welcome people who have recently begun to understand the importance of the struggle for justice in Palestine.”

According to the Friends of Sabeel North America website, FOSNA “supports Sabeel, an ecumenical liberation theology movement founded by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. We share Sabeel’s mission to amplify the voice of Palestinian Christians and work with peace builders of all faiths who stand with the oppressed and promote a just peace in Palestine and Israel. FOSNA challenges distortions of the Bible and theologies that lead to racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and condemns all acts of violence, whether committed by states, individuals, or groups. We organize and participate in events and nonviolent advocacy campaigns that advance peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

To visit the FOSNA website, click here.

Barry Saks is a member of JVP.  He may be reached at barry@barrysaks.com.

Jafar Farah Explains the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

12 Oct

Jafar Farah remembered the first demonstration he went to when he was an 11-year-old boy.  It was in solidarity with the Chileans against General Pinochet.  He knew then he had an obligation to protest even though the coup occurred thousands of miles away and didn’t affect him directly.

Decades passed.  Farah graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts in education and sociology.  At Haifa University, he was President of the Committee for Arab Student from 1988 to 1989 and then the Head of the National Union of Arab Students from 1989-1990.  He was a journalist for Haaretz newspaper from 1990 to 1997 and an investigative journalist for Israel’s Channel 2 News.  He founded the Mossawa Center in 1997 and now serves as its director.  He speaks Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Like his expression of solidarity with the Chileans at 11, he has been touring the United States most recently asking for solidarity from people in the United States, regarding the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

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Israel’s new Basic Law was explained by Jafar Farah to an audience of about 50 people, on Sunday, Oct. 7. Farah is at the podium with Rick Chertoff to his left. Photo by Barry Saks.

About 50 people heard Farah, on Sunday, Oct. 7, at what is known as the Peace Center at 3916 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, where he spoke generally about Israel and specifically about the Basic Law declaring Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles sponsored the event, which was co-sponsored by Al-Awda (the Palestine Right of Return Coalition), All Saints Episcopal Church, CODEPINK, Interfaith Communities for Justice and Peace, LA Progressive, LA Jews for Peace, the North America Nakba (the Arabic term for the 1948 events, when most Palestinians were expelled from their homeland by the new state of Israel) Tour and United Methodists Holy Land Task Force.

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Waiting to introduce Jafar Farah and Rick Chertoff is Linda Milazzo. Milazzo is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles and CODEPINK. Photo by Barry Saks.

Linda Milazzo, who said she was a member of JVP-LA and CODEPINK, introduced Farah and Rick Chertoff.  Of Chertoff, Milazzo said, “In the late ‘90s, he was the Director of the Jewish Labor Committee, working out of the Jewish Federation here in Los Angeles, he co-founded LA Jews for Peace…He organized a course on the Palestine-Israel conflict at UCLA Labor Studies….and has published articles in the online magazine, LA Progressive.”

To listen to the audio of the introduction by Milazzo and the conversation between Farah and Chertoff, click here.

The format of the event was a back-and-forth conversation, consisting of remarks by Chertoff, followed by a question to Farah, followed by his  response.

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Jabar Farah is speaking at the podium with Rick Chertoff listening on Sunday, Oct.7, at the Peace Center, 3916 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City.  Farah is speaking about the Basic Law declaring Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.  Photo by Barry Saks.

Chertoff asked Farah to describe the events in May 2018 in Haifa, where Farah was arrested and beaten by an Israel police officer in the police station.

Farah said he had just come back from Italy.  His two sons and nephew were at a demonstration, where about 300 youth in Haifa were protesting in solidarity with Gaza and against the attacks by Israel.  From Facebook accounts, he knew the demonstration was becoming a problem.  He went to the demonstration, which the police declared illegal.

Meanwhile, the police were arresting demonstrators.  He convinced his two children and nephew to leave the demonstration.  He asked the police if they could leave, which he documented on his cellphone.  The police refused to let them leave.  He was not arrested, yet.  However, his youngest son and nephew were among about the 20 who were arrested.

While going to the police station, he observed the Secret Service, the head of the Haifa police department and the same police officer, who refused to let him and others leave earlier were following him.  At the police station, he observed his son and nephew were bloodied with all those arrested on the ground.  It was there, where he was arrested and an officer broke his knee because authorities wanted the evidence on his cellphone.  When the police offered to let him leave under “home jail,” he refused to be treated differently from the other arrested.  Police jailed him for almost 50 hours with his broken knee, his son and nephew.  He added because of his previous connections with the mass media, for a week after the incident, police violence against Palestinian Arabs was in the news.

To read the Washington Post story of May 21 on the arrest of Farah, click here.

To read the Haaretz story of Oct. 8 for the latest news of the arrest of Farah, click here.

Chertoff asked Farah to describe Mossawa’s efforts at coordination and communication among the different groups among the different populations of the Arab Palestinians, who are on both sides of the Green Line and other locations.

Farah said that after the Oslo Accords of 1995 for a while, the Palestinians were isolated inside the Green Line and that Hamas and Fatah each thought they could run a state.  Now they understand they don’t run a state but jails “and today they understand much better the importance of the Palestinians inside Israel because we are the only Palestinians that stayed on our homeland.  We have to take into consideration almost on every issue while we have similarities, but also we have different legal frameworks.”

He pointed out that the legal frameworks are different on both sides of the Green Line, for Israeli settlers, for Gazans, for the West Bank and so on.  Then, he said, “(T)here is something inhuman(e) to be Palestinian…and (to) see your home, to see your village and to see your cemetery, to see your land and still you can’t go back and practice the right to go back to this village….(W)e are the only group, only Palestinian that we have the political platform that from the Islamic Movement to the Communist Party and the secular groups, sitting together in one political group called the Joint List….There is an illusion that Israel inside the Green Line is the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Chertoff asked Farah, “Tell us what this (the Nation-State Law) really changes because what you describe is already a de facto and de jure segregation and the kind of oppression and impunity and so what could make it possibly worse?”

In response, Farah said, “We have the dream to be equal.”  He pointed out that before the passage of the Nation-State Law, Israeli case law required equal treatment in housing and said, “There is an article in this law that say(s) that the state should encourage Jewish settlements.”  Another example he pointed out is that by privileging the Hebrew language, “they went and downgraded the Arabic language.”  Near the end of his response to the question, he added, “We would like the next election in Israel to be around which country this will be. (Will) this be the country of occupation, separation, discrimination and humiliation of people, which this is the situation today? Or will it be…a democratic country, a country where there will be peace, reconciliation (and) social justice?”

Chertoff asked Farah to speak about how to talk to the Jewish-Israeli minorities, like the Mizrahim (Jews from the Middle East), Sephardim and Jews from Russia.

Farah said in the case of the Mizrahim and Sephardim who overlap with the Mizrahim, these are people who are not hostile to Arabic or Persian culture and languages, at least for some Sephardim.  They listen to Middle-Eastern music and food; and, they don’t speak Hebrew.  Regarding Jews from Russia and Ethiopia again, they don’t speak Hebrew and some of them hide they are really Christians.

Chertoff then asked how to talk with others about the one-state versus the two-state solution.  He argued for a two-state solution by pointing out a one-state solution abandons the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and gives Netanyahu a way out of the present situation. He said, “Let Netanyahu go the international community and say I am not interested in a two-state solution.”

According to the Jerusalem Post of July 19, the full text of the Jewish-State Basic Law, which passed the night before, reads, “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people in which the State of Israel was established….The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination….The fulfillment of the right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people….The name of the state is Israel.”

“The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center….The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom….The national anthem of the state is ‘Hatikvah’ (and)….[(f)urther] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law.

“[The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel….Hebrew is the language of the state….The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law….This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created.

“The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled….The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship….The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora….The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.

“The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law….Independence Day is the official holiday of the state….The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state….Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays….This Basic Law may not be altered except by a Basic Law that gained the approval of the majority of the Knesset members.”

According to the Mossawa Center’s website, the center was established in 1997 and aims to promote the economic, social, cultural and political rights of the Palestinian-Arab citizens in Israel, and the recognition of this community as a national indigenous minority, with their own national, cultural and historical distinctiveness; it also develops programs to promote a democratic society, and acts against all forms of discrimination based on race, nationalism, religious affiliation, social status, gender, and disabilities.