The Nation-State bill: Necessary, dangerous or just plain stupid?
Last week, the Knesset passed what called the nationality law, which enshrines into Israel’s Basic Law (its quasi constitution) the Jewish nature of the state. According to JTA:
Much of the bill, sponsored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, deals with obvious signs that Israel is a Jewish state, such as affirming the symbols on the flag and shield, setting the Hebrew calendar as the country’s official calendar, recognizing Jewish holidays and days of remembrance, the national anthem and naming Jerusalem as the capital.
Other parts of the law, however, have raised the hackles of segments of Israeli society and the Jewish Diaspora. These include clauses relegating Arabic to a “special” status instead of an official language, promoting the establishment of Jewish communities throughout Israel and addressing the state’s relationship with Diaspora Jewry.
The question we’re left with is: Why was it important to pass this law? This law can be very easily used as a weapon by those who are anti-Israel, as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin argued. Israel is a Jewish state. Everyone knows it. Why must it be enshrined into law, to the point where it could jeopardize Israel’s democratic values — those values it works so hard to uphold, and those values which is often touts in marked contrast to its Middle Eastern neighbors.
Of significant concern is the law’s treatment of Israel’s Arab minority — a minority which accounts for some 20% of the country’s population. While it may be true that the law does not contain anything specific that violates minority rights, it sends an exclusionary message, which is neither healthy for nor fair to Israel’s non-Jewish minority groups.
But what’s your take? Is passing the bill a good move, because it will force the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state in the case of any peace agreement? Is it dangerous, because it may provoke even more hostility from already unfriendly neighbors? Or because it may become a “weapon” for the BDS movement as many are concerned? Or is it just plain unnecessary?
Cast your vote & post a comment.