Israel’s ‘Nation State’ Law

Context
  • The law establishes Israel as the
    • historic home of the Jewish people
    • with a “united” Jerusalem as its capital
    • declares that the Jewish people “have an exclusive right to national self-determination” in Israel.
  • The legislation, a “basic law” gives it the weight of a constitutional amendment — omits any mention of democracy or the principle of equality, in what critics called a betrayal of Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence, which ensured “complete equality of social and political rights” for “all its inhabitants” no matter their religion, race or sex.
 
Law downgrades status of Arabic
  • The law downgrades the status of Arabic, until now an official language of the State of Israel, along with Hebrew.
  • The law sets Arabic as a language with “special status.” Arabs make up approximately 20% of Israel’s population and about 36% of the population of Jerusalem.
 
What do the supporters of bill say?
  • It is aimed to boost Israel’s Jewish identity and will not discriminate against minorities.
 
Issue Area
  • Arab community, which makes up a fifth of Israel’s population, faces discrimination when it comes to opportunities and rights
  • It challenges the basic concepts of equality, which even Israel’s declaration of independence promised to all its inhabitants.
  • The legislation is racist and a form of apartheid aimed at creating two systems within one country.
  • The emphasis on Jerusalem and the promise to promote settlements pose a direct threat to any peace process with the Palestinians.
  • Jerusalem remains a disputed territory, with Palestinians seeing its eastern part as the capital of their future state. Israel’s claim over the city remains a key point of dispute between the two sides.
 
 
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