As Long As Deep In Our Hearts
The Jewish Soul Is Yearning
And Eastward To Zion
Our Gaze Is Directed
O Then Shall Not Perish Our Hope
The Hope Of Two Thousand Years
To Be A Free Nation
In Our Land
The Land Of Zion And Jerusalem
Israeli National Anthem, H’aTikvah (translation: BP)
Israel does not have a constitution. In its stead, Israel has the Declaration of Independence, which, though devoid of legal standing, guides the fundamental aspects of what Israel aspires to be and so-called “fundamental” or “foundational” laws, which, unlike any other law passed by the Knesset, require an absolute majority of 61 members of the Knesset present in the assembly hall to change or invalidate. These are laws that deal with basic human rights and other things of that nature. The Nationality Law, passed by the full assembly of the Knesset on July 18, 2018 by an absolute majority of 62 members (out of 120), is such a law.
The Nationality Law inspired and still inspires heated debate within Israel’s Jewish majority and within the Arab and Druze minorities alike. This law has far reaching implications not only for Israel, but as a source for emulation by other nation states that wish to maintain their democratic institutions and representative forms of government without compromising their cultural, religious, and ethnic identities. Eastern European countries in particular, are leading candidates for adopting similar laws.
What are the provisions of the law?
Paragraph 1 defines the Land of Israel as the historical homeland of the Jewish nation and the State of Israel as the “nation state” of the Jewish nation EXCLUSIVELY. Only the Jewish nation has the right of self-determination in the State of Israel.
Paragraph 2 enshrines in law the symbols of the State of Israel: the Menorah, the flag, and the National Anthem.
Paragraph 3 defines the united city of Jerusalem (rather than West Jerusalem only) as Israel’s capital.
Paragraph 4 sets Hebrew as the official language of Israel, demoting Arabic from its current and coequal to Hebrew status of “official language” to a lesser status of “language that enjoys a special status”.
Paragraph 5 reinforces the already existing Law of Return, giving any Jew who wishes it the right to Israeli citizenship.
Paragraph 6 declares Israel as an interested party in the welfare of Jews worldwide, requiring it to interfere anytime and anywhere Jews are persecuted because they are Jews.
Paragraph 7 defines Jewish settlement in Israel as a policy goal.
Paragraph 8 sets the Jewish Lunar calendar as coequal to the more commonly used Gregorian calendar.
Paragraph 9 reinforces the official status of the Day of Independence and the Memorial Days for casualties of Israeli military campaigns and victims of the Holocaust.
Paragraph 10 sets the Sabbath and the Jewish Holidays as the official days of rest in Israel, while allowing non-Jews to observe their own holidays.
Paragraph 11 defines the law as one that can only be changed by an absolute majority of 61 members of Knesset.
What makes this law simultaneously so controversial and so necessary? Israel’s Declaration of Independence, written in 1948, defines the newly born state as “Jewish and democratic”, giving the Jewish nature of Israel coequal status with its system of governance. The Nationality Law, which is superior to the non-legally binding Declaration of Independence, gives clear priority to the Jewishness of Israel, should this concept come into conflict with democratic system of governance under any possible definition of this concept. This is the crux of the matter. Enemies of Israel, including those in the US Congress like the newly elected Rashida Tlaib, are not hiding their goal of destroying Israel like their predecessors destroyed South Africa; not by changing the name of the country or “wiping it off the face of the Earth”, or depriving it of its seat in the United Nations. All of that is both difficult and unnecessary. All that’s needed is to use the tools of majority rule to change Israel from a state that is controlled by Jews for the benefit of Jews to a state that is controlled by Arabs, who can then decide to do with the Jews who remain there as they wish, all using perfectly legal democratic tools. This approach is straight from the South Africa rule book. The Europeans in that country, essentially the Boers who built it from scratch over four centuries, made the mistake of not following the Prime Directive of Zionism: make sure you are the majority in your own land. From the very inception of the Zionist movement and to this very day, Jews in Israel were willing to make any concession, including the abandonment of established settlements, in order to gain and maintain population majorities in the geographic areas under their control.
In South Africa, because Boers were the minority they were forced by the West to commit literal suicide: relinquish control to native Africans, who are now proceeding to physically eliminate them in an act of genocide that nobody cares about because (like the Jews in the 1940’s), the Boers are inconvenient, unimportant, and expendable. But being the majority is not enough in this day and age. As Western Europe and North America are invaded by hordes of Muslim and (in the case of North America) Hispanic migrants, many localities are declaring de-facto independence from their host nations, making and enforcing their own laws. There is continued pressure for schools to teach in minority languages, for communities to observe minority dietary and modesty laws and for the public square to ban any expressions of sovereignty, culture, or tradition that belong to the majority and have been historically (but not legally) enshrined in the host country for centuries.This amounts to no less than a creeping takeover from the inside out, a conquest of the host country by its guest minorities. It is also, paradoxically, undemocratic to the extreme. The creeping nature of this conquest by migration is not something that is ever put before any national sovereign House of Assembly; it is the result of policies conceived by faceless bureaucrats who act solely in their own interests or simply as a side effect of other policies that are designed to enrich the global elites by driving down the cost of labor, both skilled and unskilled.
As the Nationality Law is coming under scrutiny in the run-up to the April 9th Israeli election, several leftist parties have vowed to dilute it by introducing a number of changes. Many of these are couched in the desire to make the Druze community in Israel, a community that serves in the military and is generally aligned with the Jewish majority and against the Muslim Arab minority, feel better about the law. To this Miri Regev, a member of Knesset from the center-right Likud Party and the Minister of Culture has answered as follows: “the Nationality Law makes it clear; INDIVIDUAL rights are guaranteed in Israel to all citizens. NATIONAL rights are given to the Jews exclusively.”
Simply put, Israel will never have schools that teach in any language other than Hebrew, unless they are in the Arab sector. There will be no non-Jewish prime minister. Israeli flags and only Israeli flags will fly over official buildings and only the National Anthem, the one that talks only about Jews and their nearly eternal yearning for the Land of Israel, will be played anywhere in the country. It is undoubtedly true that non-Jews cannot harmonize with the words of the anthem. It may peeve them that a country in which they are citizens has an anthem that actively excludes them. To this the Nationality Law says: “so what?” Muslim Arabs have countless countries they can emigrate to and most of them are hostile to Israel anyway, whether they externalize it or not. The Druze who reside in Israel simply follow their age-old tradition of supporting whoever is in power, often making a living by offering their excellent warrior skills in exchange for being left to live as they wish in their villages. The Druze in Syria fight for Assad. The Druze in Lebanon serve in the Lebanese military. The Druze in the Golan Heights are quite hostile to Israel and do not serve in the IDF. The Druze who live on Mount Carmel and in the Lower Galilee are important allies to Israel, but it’s a mutually convenient arrangement, nothing more. If, as a non-Jew, you wish to reside in Israel, you are invited to understand that your national aspirations will never be served there. It is really as simple as that.
Democracy is rapidly becoming perverted away from its original meaning, a meaning that Lincoln described well when he spoke of a “government by the people, for the people”. By people, he did not mean the entire human race; he meant the citizens of the United States, citizens who were united behind certain ideals that are enshrined in the constitution. What democracy does not mean, has never meant, is majority dictatorship, especially when “majority” can be defined as narrowly as a single school district or a single neighborhood.
The Nationality Law will not be changed because Israeli Jews have not made and are not making still the enormous sacrifice that is required to maintain a modern successful state in a sea of backwardness and religious fundamentalism just so their accomplishments can be appropriated by the same people who devoted their lives to sabotaging them and whose only goal is to repeat the Boer genocide in the Holy Land, only this time on Jews. Systems of governance come and go, but the Jewish Nation is here to stay. The world had better get used to it.