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Thousands of members of Israel's Druze minority and their Jewish supporters packed a central Tel Aviv square Saturday night to rally against a contentious new law that critics say sidelines Israel's non-Jewish citizens. I want to tell them: "There is nothing in this law that infringes on your rights as equal citizens of the state of Israel, and there is nothing in it that harms the special status of the Druze community in Israel", Netanyahu said on Sunday. They are considered to be fiercely loyal to Israel.

Like other minorities, the Druze have been outraged by the law, which they say renders them second-class citizens.

Haaretz stated that "the plan outlines a Basic Law and a regular law that will recognise the contribution of minorities who defend the country by "enshrining eligibility for the benefits of minority members of all religions and communities who serve in the security forces, for the objective of closing gaps and promoting social equality".

"The military cemeteries and hundreds of martyrs testify to this, and as we fight for the existence of the state, we are determined to fight for the right to live with equality and dignity".

Druze protests have increased against the recently passed Nation-State law that enshrines the state's Jewish character and which critics say undermines israel's democratic values.

Arab Israelis make up around 20 percent of the country's 9 million citizens.

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During the Saturday demonstration, protesters chanted "equality" while waving colorful Druze flags. The law's passage made it one of Israel's Basic Laws, which, similar to a constitution, underpin Israel's legal system and are more hard to repeal than regular laws.

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The Nation-State Law, first of all, entrenches the Law of Return.

The Israeli left-wing and leaders of Israel's wider Arab community have also condemned the new law.

But when the talk turned to a comment one of the Druze had made about Israel becoming an "apartheid state", the prime minister reportedly walked out in anger.

Unlike Arab Israelis, members of both the Druze and Circassian minorities are subject to Israel's mandatory draft and serve in large numbers alongside Jewish soldiers in some of the IDF's most elite units.

"Therefore, we will establish today a special ministerial committee that will advance this relationship and this commitment, and at the same time will recognize those who serve in the IDF and the security services from all religions and all communities".

Several Druze military officers have resigned over the law.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pushed for the legislation, has repeatedly refused any suggestion to amend the law.

Leader of the Opposition MK Tzipi Livni called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "Bibi, decide - this Nation State Law or the Declaration of Independence.


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