Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich Miriam Alster/Flash90

MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) is concerned about the ever-evolving softening of the Nationalism Law.

"This law has declarative advantages that enshrine the Jewish character of the State of Israel, but we must remember that these benefits are limited, and in the end, the flag, the anthem, the symbol and the language are things that have also been around to this day," Smotrich said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

"It is true that this law can be a good tool in the hands of judges who want to make a change and turn the clock back in the context of Aharon Barak's constitutional revolution, but this law is accompanied by many fears because this Jewish national character is anchored in an almost secular national form, without any mention of Judaism, not even like the Declaration of Independence has the ‘Rock of Israel’ and the ‘vision of the prophets.’ Lesser judges can use this to empty Jewish content as we mean it. In the end, every Basic Law is a tool for the Supreme Court to interpret what it wants for its purposes. We are giving the Supreme Court a tool to continue to criticize the legislation of the Knesset and the government. "

Smotrich will eventually support the law as a coalition member, but he will do so with a very difficult feeling. "We demanded an ‘Article 7’ with teeth, a practical clause that could Judaize the Negev and the Galilee and develop Jewish settlement. We said that if this benefit is practical, it is worth it. But this clause was entirely uprooted by demand of the attorney general and the president and the leftist campaign, and now the law has no practical implications. I am in a big dilemma. I tend to support the law, not because it is good, but rather because it is a kind of platform to pass as is and in the next coalition agreement to demand that Article 7 be amended to make it clear that it has teeth."

The MK expressed disappointment with the campaign waged against the law. "There is a Zionist challenge here, because today there is an Arab majority in the Galilee. You issue a tender in Afula and only Arabs get it. If I want to encourage Jews to rent apartments to Jews only, I need the law to allow me to do this. I am not interested in encouraging more Arabs to come to the Galilee. I want to do ‘mechir lemishtaken’ [lottery program for discounted housing] for Jews only, and it will not happen under the wording in question. It's very sad. There was a hypocritical campaign of opposition here, of people who find it hard to look in the mirror and say that we live in a Jewish state, and this is not just a catchphrase but a statement with meaning."