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Thousands of Druze to protest against Israel's Jewish nation law

An estimated 150,000 expected to take part in demonstrations calling for equal rights for all Israeli citizens.

The Druze

A massive rally against a "discriminatory" law that declares Israel the exclusive homeland of Jewish people is expected to draw tens of thousands in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Druze community members, who organised the event, estimate 150,000 people will take part in the protest, held under the motto, "Equal rights for all citizens".

The Druze are an Arabic-speaking group with their own distinct religious and cultural traditions.

They make up two percent of Israel's 8.8 million populations and are found mainly in the northern regions of Galilee and Carmel.

The Druze have had special status since the 1950s, when they were drafted into the military, unlike Israel's Muslim and Christian populations.

Salma Zeidan is a minority Druze whose two sons were killed during military service for Israel.

"If this law doesn't change, I will get your bodies exhumed from this military cemetery and bury you in your grandfathers' land," Zeidan said in an interview.

Critics say the new legislation makes Israel's non-Jewish minorities into second-class citizens, further marginalising some 1.8 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and other smaller minorities, including the Druze. 

The Basic Law, which has standing similar to a constitution, gives only Jews the right to self-determination.

It also strips Arabic of its official language designation, downgrading it to a "special status".

Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country's population, have heavily criticised the law and are planning a series of actions in a bid to cancel it.

"It's an attempt at destroying the entire rhetoric of historic Palestine," Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, said.

"It stands against an entire people."

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