Thursday, September 29th | 5 Tishri 5783

July 25, 2018 11:34 am

Israel’s Nation-State Law Is More Than a Declaration

avatar by Reuven Berko /


The Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – 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.

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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.

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