Israel’s Nation-State Law Is More Than a Declaration
JNS.org – The attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorist organizations against Israel over the years are the obvious reason for Israel’s defensive and retaliatory measures. As part of these measures, terrorist cells were eliminated, Qassam rockets were destroyed, terrorist tunnels were blown up. Now, Israel is fending off Hamas’ border riots and arson terrorism campaigns, all while simultaneously fighting international hypocrisy calling for a “proportional response.”
Against the backdrop of this struggle, a political firestorm raged over the approval of the nation-state law — an operative defense measure. While Israel is busy defending itself at various levels on the ground, the traditional chorus of critics asserts that passing this legislation, which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, is “racist, fascist, discriminatory, declarative, and hollow.”
So how did these haters turn a legitimate democratic decision into a “fascist” declaration?
A short review of the history and the works of the three monotheistic religions should remind us all of the most natural and legitimate conclusion: there is nothing new in the nation-state law. A Palestinian state never existed here, but a Jewish state did – and Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all predicted its resurrection. Nowhere in any of these religions is there a mention of the Palestinians.
History reminds us of the 1947 Partition Plan, which sought to establish neighboring Jewish and Arab states in the land of Israel. Even this plan made no mention of “Palestine,” regardless of the fact that the Arabs turned it down. Arab armies then tried to destroy Israel, but despite their effort, the Declaration of Independence was signed, asserting Israel’s nature as a Jewish state committed to preserving the equality and rights of the minorities living here.
Even Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in one of his pre-Oslo Accords speeches in the early 1990s, acknowledged that Israel is a Jewish state. So why did we need the nation-state law to begin with?
The Arab rejection of the Jewish state in 1948, and the call for its destruction, stemmed from political considerations, but also Islamic reasons: The Palestinians (and the Islamists) perceive the Jews not as a nation entitled to a homeland, but as a religious community forever fallen out of grace. This is why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state despite the nobility of our Declaration of Independence.
It is well known that Arab countries are Islamic and European countries are Christian. No one but radical Islamist groups challenge this reality. As far as the international community is concerned, nothing is more valid than the attempt, failed as it may be, to assemble a divided group of people, devoid of any shared history, define it as the “Palestinian nation” and give it — for the first time in history — a Palestinian nation-state.
In stark contrast, when a Jewish majority in the Knesset defined Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, dedicated to preserving the rights and equality of the minorities living within it, the move evoked global wrath.
The newly formed Palestinians have been dreaming that Israel would be defeated militarily, crushed by Palestinian terror, fall prey to international isolation, or implode due to terrorist intifadas. As their illusions deflated one by one, they began dreaming of a Palestinian terrorist state “alongside Israel,” which would then strive to destroy the Jewish state with the help of the Palestinian national minority within.
As far as the Palestinians are concerned, Palestinian nationality is permitted but Jewish nationality is forbidden.
This is why the nation-state law is imperative and not merely declarative: The law defines Israel as the “nation-state” of the Jewish people, thus putting the brakes on the Palestinians’ subversive plans. Let’s see the High Court of Justice repeal that.
Dr. Reuven Berko was the adviser on Arab affairs to the Jerusalem district police and a writer for Israel Hayom.