Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak addressed the conference at the Netanya Academic College on the Nationality Law and explained his firm opposition.
"I don't think the concept of a state of all its citizens is contrary to the concept of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People, based on an attempt to understand what a state of all its citizens is. The statement that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People says that the right to self-determination of the Jewish People in the State of Israel is a right given to the Jewish People and not to other peoples, and this is reflected in the new Basic Law," Barak noted.
"There are many countries in the world and there are nations, and there is the State of Israel, which is the nation-state of the Jewish People. In a bi-national or multi-national state there can be several nations that each claims to be fulfilling the right given to each nation according to international law for self-determination. I see the State of Israel as the national home of the Jewish People. I'm a Herzlian and faithful to the Declaration of Independence.
"I believe that the Basic Law is a repetition of what already appears in the Declaration of Independence and a repetition that is not as good as what's stated in the Declaration of Independence. If the State of Israel is a state of all its citizens, meaning that every person or every citizen of the country can see the state as his national home, then I do not agree that the State of Israel is a state of all its citizens. Anyone who is in the State of Israel, whether citizen or not, every citizen here is equal in rights to every other person, and it is forbidden to discriminate between people." Barak added.
"I agree that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People, but this isn't the time to talk about it," says Barak, "even if I agree with the Basic Law of the Nation, I don't think now is the time to write it. I thought that this vision should be inserted as an introduction or as a separate part of a whole constitution with an institutional part and a part on human and civil rights, and then a general part that would talk about the vision and communicate by its very content to each of the other parts.
"Now the whole constitution doesn't exist and all we have now is part of the institutional aspect, the part on human rights that's very meager and miserable, and without the interpretation of the court it would have been terrible. We are not yet ripe from the constitutional point of view to enter these discussions, we have too many internal disputes. First there needs to be an intellectual infrastructure in which we will understand each other more, and only then will we sit down and write a vision shared by all of us, and not only by some coalition majority," Barak argued, ""I see a lot of lack of intellectual integrity in the approach that says - in the Basic Law the nation did not have to introduce rights because they do not belong and they are found in another law, the Nationality Law is a law of vision but they aren't willing to say equality because once they say this the religious parties will crumble because they're not prepared to recognize the equality of Arabs, women, people with a different sexual perception, etc. And this is where the dog is buried."
Barak attacked claims against the Supreme Court, "It isn't true that the minority runs the court because the one who runs it is the legislation and the Basic Laws, and it is an optical illusion to think that Adalah and the Association for Human Rights are running the court system. Democracy is undermined if there's tyranny by the majority and in our country tyranny by the majority is beginning to develop. And this isn't a good development."