This is an image unthinkable in any other country from Morocco to Iran. Perhaps even in many Western democracies.
Israel has just approved the law on the “state of the Jewish nation”. Critics in global circles and the media already shout at the “attack on pluralism and democracy”.
After 70 years, Israel lacks a constitution. It is a quite a unique anomaly among Western countries, because constitutions are the cornerstone of democracies, they define their identity and purpose.
Israel has “basic laws” on individual rights (in that sense, Israel is as liberal as New Jersey) and the separation of powers, but not a fundamental law that defines the identity and purpose of the state. The new law is approved in order to fill the void.
Without a Nationality Law, the “law of return” (a tenet of Zionism which guarantees automatic immigration rights to Jews, for example to the French Jews now under Islamist attack) could one day be overthrown as “discriminatory”, as well as the anthem of Israel (which expresses the faithfulness of two millennia of Jews to their land), the flag (another Jewish symbol with the Star of David) could be challenged in court for ignoring the rights of the Arab minority and the Menorah (the Knesset symbol also engraved on the Arch of Titus in Rome) could be considered “racist”. The law protects all these.
Opponents argue that declaring Hebrew to be the official language of Israel, while guaranteeing a “special status” to Arabic, is detrimental and racist toward the Arab minority. But even the Constitution of France states that “the language of the Republic is French” (article 2) while recognizing the “regional languages” as part of the “French heritage” (article 75). Has anyone ever attacked France for this, despite its having a large Arab minority from its former colonies? Every road sign and recorded announcement in israel is in both Hebrew and Arabic (English as well, and sometimes recordings have a Russian option)
The Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights. Not only that, but Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women have always been able to vote. The Arabs hold numerous seats in the Knesset and the only party ever banned by Israel is a Jewish one (Kach). Israeli Arabs have also held various government positions.
The only legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that they are not required to serve in the Israeli army. In 1999, Abdel Rahman Zuabi was the first Arab-Israeli to enter the Israeli Supreme Court.
As I wrote in my last book, Israel is the “freest Arab nation” in the world, the only country where an Arab spring really succeded, and without bloodshed..
The law approved by the Knesset puts a bank on the thundering, satanic campaign of international delegitimization that, even after 70 years, calls into question the right of Israel to define itself as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
The Irish Senate just approved an anti-Semitic law banning the selling of Israeli goods produced beyond the 1967 line. Those who today are shouting at the “attack on Israeli democracy” - where are they when in European squares “death to the Jews” is heard, when Iran calls for the destruction of Israel, when a UN agency is born to bring the grandchildren of the 1948 refugees to Israel to destroy it demographically, when Unesco cancels the Jewish history of Jerusalem and when the world does not recognize Israel's right to have its capital in Jerusalem?