The Jerusalem District Court rejected on Tuesday a request by a group of citizens of myriad religions to mark the "nationality" box in their ID cards as "Israeli," instead of "Jewish" or "Arab." The judge ruled that their petition is not justiciable.
The request was filed by 21 citizens, composed mostly of Jews, but also including an Arab, a Druze, a Buddhist, a Georgian and a Burmese. The group, which includes some well-known names, is headed by Uzi Ornan, who is registered in the population registry as a "Hebrew." They are all members of a nonprofit group (amuta) called "I am an Israeli" and have all signed a declaration that they belong to the "Israeli" nation.
Former Knesset members
According to Nfc, the group includes radical leftist politicians and former Knesset members Uri Avneri and Shulamit Aloni, philosopher Yosef Agasi, Yehudit Buber-Agasi, musician Alon Olearchik, dramatist Yehoshua Sobol, Ibrahim Dweiri and Adel Kaadan – Arabs who are both active in legal attempts to challenge Zionism.
Ornan asked the Minister of Interior to be registered as an Israeli in 2000. His request was rejected on the grounds that "the table of nationalities does not include 'Israeli.'" Ornan then petitioned the High Court but was referred to the District Court by Judge Mishael Cheshin. The group did so, and added affidavits in which they declared that "in their perception or feeling," they are "not Jews but sons of the Israeli nationality." They said that the fact that the Israeli nationality could not be recognized was "a strange anomaly."
The group also noted that while they do not seek to force any definition of nationality upon other citizens, their Israeli passports list their citizenship as "Israeli" and the English translation says "Israeli nationality." They claimed that it made no sense for them to be Jews "for internal consumption" and Israelis "for
The group declared that "in their perception or feeling," they are "not Jews but sons of the Israeli nationality."
'Nationality' left blank
The state answered that what Jewish, Druze and Arab Israelis have in common is their citizenship, not their nationality. It added that any change in the national definition of Israelis has to be carried out by the Knesset and not by the court.
Judge Noam Solberg noted that the "nationality" box in Israeli IDs is left blank anyways since 2000. He determined that by determining that an "Israeli" nationality existed the court would be exceeding its bounds and legislating instead of judging.