Five questions on Israel's controversial Jewish nation law

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 9, 2018

The law states that "the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people".

Finally, on the issue of Diaspora Jewry, she notes that the law explicitly mentions that "the state will act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people" and says that the language chosen to refer to activities in the Diaspora alone was to "avoid an undemocratic situation in which a constitutional "right" would effectively bind the Israeli Government to make decisions based on how they would be perceived overseas".

Israeli Arab leaders on Tuesday filed a almost 60-page-long petition against the newly enacted Jewish Nation-State law, calling the legislation "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights" and in contradiction to worldwide law.

On the concern about establishing Jewish-only communities, Greenberg said that until today Israel's Supreme Court has only allowed the establishment of non-Jewish only communities and that a clause in the legislation had been meant to correct this disparity.

The law, which the petition described as "racist, colonialist and illegitimate", was passed by Israel's parliament late last month.

The petition was submitted on behalf of all of the Arab political leadership in Israel - the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the National Committee of Arab Mayors, the Joint List parliamentary faction, and in the name of Adalah - against the Knesset, according to an Adalah press release. Capt. Amir Jamal, one of the Druze officers who resigned, said in an open letter to Netanyahu on his Facebook page Sunday that has now been removed, the Jerusalem Post reported.

But critics, both at home and overseas, say it undermines Israel's commitment to equality for all its citizens outlined in the constitution.

The Basic Laws of Israel are the constitutional laws that can only be changed by a super-majority vote in the Israeli Knesset, hence the constitutional underpinning of the Israeli justice system. The law was first proposed in the Knesset in August 2011. It has prompted particular outrage from Israel's Druze minority, whose members say the law's provisions render them second-class citizens.

Tens of thousands demonstrated against the law in Tel Aviv on Saturday, calling for it to be amended to ensure equality for the country's minorities. The new law makes no mention of equality or democracy, meaning that the country's Jewish character is prioritised over Palestinians, Druze and Circassians in Israel.

The legislation was passed as a so-called basic law, which, similar to a constitution, underpin Israel's legal system and are more hard to repeal than regular laws. It is at least the thirds challenge filed with the Supreme Court over the law. The law has stirred calls for that to end.

"The real question is who is for and who is against the Declaration of Independence, and why is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the Declaration of Independence?"

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