Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System

09 August, 2018, 22:55 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System

Thus to argue that the nation-state law is undemocratic because it doesn't mention equality or minority rights is like arguing that the U.S. Constitution is undemocratic because Articles I and II confer broad powers on the legislature and executive without mentioning the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Israel's justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, said on Sunday that any move by the High Court to overturn the nation-state law would lead to "an quake, a war between the authorities", Haaretz reported.

The petition argued that by declaring Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people alone, the law excludes the rights of its Arab citizens who make up around 20 percent of the population.

"Nobody has harmed - and nobody intends to harm - these individual rights but without the Nation-State Law it will be impossible to ensure for (future) generations the future of Israel as a Jewish national state".

Adalah said in its statement on Tuesday that "the law guarantees the ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish and entrenches the privileges enjoyed by Jewish citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against Palestinian citizens and legitimising exclusion, racism, and systemic inequality". It also defines Arabic as a language bearing a "special" status, effectively downgrading it from its de facto status as Israel's second official language.

The petitioners run the gamut of Arab Israeli representative groups, including the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the umbrella body of Arab Israeli organizations; lawmakers of the Joint List in the Knesset; and the committee of Arab council heads and mayors. "There is also no single constitution in the world that does not include the right to equality for all its citizens and residents".


Tens of thousands of Druze Israelis, along with Jewish supporters, thronged a Tel Aviv square on Saturday night in a rare demonstration against government policy by the typically muted community.

Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, warned of an "earthquake" that would occur, in the case that the Israeli High Court of Justice decides to overturn the controversial Jewish Nation-State law.

On 19 July 2018, the Israeli Knesset voted 62 to 55 to approve the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law that constitutionally enshrines Jewish supremacy and the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. What it has is a series of Basic Laws to which the Supreme Court unilaterally accorded constitutional status.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to placate the Druze with a package of benefits, but efforts to negotiate it have stalled.

On Sunday, two Bedouin former IDF officers also called on the High Court to either change the formulation of the law so it applies equally to all Israelis or abolish it completely.

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