The Nation-State Law

The point that this law was unnecessary is in some ways true and in some ways untrue, but in every way interesting. The fact that this law is now a Basic Law is a whole new kettle of fish. It opens the ground up for annexing the West Bank with less trouble from the Supreme court.  It also opens the possibility of discrimination against whatever will be defined as not Jewish within the future. For instance, it is not beyond reason that a total enforcement of the Shabbat for Jews could be fostered under this law in the future. That the law was unnecessary coupled with the reaction to it only shows the political “tinder box” that this country has become. A prime Minister who seeks the normative value of unity in the country would not have added “heat” to this “tinder box” with a law that is in a large part redundant This is not our Prime Minister who will gain at the polls at the expense of the country. This redundant yet explosive law was passed for the benefit of the Likud and more pointedly the Prime Minister himself This is a Prime Minister who understands very well that disunity and tension within the country reflect well on his party and himself.

The supreme irony of those who backed this law is their drive to annex the territories will only undermine their intentions that the state of Israel be a home for Jews politically controlled by Jews. By the incorporation of a considerable number of Arabs in this new Greater Israel the advocates of these policies are running against the logic of Ben-Gurion and those who fought the War of Independence. Their logic was one of displacement of the local population therefore insuring a Jewish majority. The current political coalition while at the same time attempting to insure Jewish sovereignty and legitimacy in Israel is open to a considerable increase in the Arab population of the state.

This circle can only be squared if understood from the standpoint of political activity and human rights activity. Arabs in the Territories will be given no voting rights for fear of their political power particularly as perceived in coalition with their Arab brethren in pre-1967 Israel. This in turn will lead to the possibility of the Arab position in pre-1967 Israel becoming more suspect in the eyes of part of its Jewish population of Israel. Israel will be faced both internally and externally with the pressure stemming from one part of the Arab population under its sovereignty with the rights to vote the other without the right to vote. The results of this are quite predictable; more isolation internationally and more suppression of not only Arabs but of course of Jews in and out of Israel who negatively react to this situation. There will be increased social, economic and legal pressure applied against the exercise of political and human rights in Israel.  Over all in this situation the idea will flourish and grow that Jewish sovereignty over Israel has to do with the land and little to do with political activity or rights. There will be in this country many people who can abide by this and many people who can’t, intensifying the political divisions which already exist in Israel. The recent Nation- State Law because of its tone and direction and its clear attempt to undermine the Supreme Court opens the door further for the annexing of the Territories. The results of that if it should take place will make the tension and conflict in Israel today seem like mere “kids play.” in comparison to what will take place in post annexation Israel

About the Author
Born and educated in the United States Edward Stern has spent most of his adult life in Israel with the exception of five years when he lived and worked in China and Korea. He is an English teacher and sometime editor with a life long interest in politics and history. Some people have told him he is also a good photographer.
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