Netanyahu reaffirms that Israel is the Jewish State

March 13, 2019 by David Singer
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It is amazing that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still needs to reaffirm to Israelis that Israel is the Jewish State.

Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Yet Netanyahu was required to do just that after fashion model, actress and TV presenter Rotem Sela instagrammed:

“When in hell will anyone in this government tell the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens, and all human beings were born equal. And the Arabs, God forbid, are human beings. As are the Druze. And the homosexuals too, by the way, and the lesbians and also … what a shock … the leftists.”

Netanyahu’s response was swift:

“Dear Rotem, important correction: Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the Basic Law we have passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and only them.

As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel – they enjoy equal rights like all of us, and the Likud government invested more in the Arab sector than any other government.”

Netanyahu elaborated on his statement at last Sunday’s cabinet meeting:

“I would like to clarify a point that, apparently, is not clear to slightly confused people in the Israeli public. Israel is a Jewish, democratic state. This means is that it is the national state of the Jewish people alone. Of course it respects the individual rights of all its citizens – Jews and non-Jews alike, but it is the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.

Other peoples, other nationalities and other minorities – have national representation in other states. The national representation of the Jewish people is in the State of Israel. Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and of it alone.”

David Ben-Gurion and Yitzchak Rabin expressed much the same sentiments decades ago.

David Singer

Ben-Gurion presciently defined the term “Jewish State” during his evidence before the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine on 7 July 1947:

“What is the meaning of a Jewish State? As I told you before, a Jewish State does not mean one has to be a Jew. It means merely a State-where the Jews are in the majority, otherwise all the citizens have the same status. If the State were called by the name “Palestine,” – I said if – then all would be Palestinian citizens If the State would be given, another name – I think it would be given another name – because Palestine is neither a Jewish nor an Arab name. As far as the Arabs are concerned, and we have the evidence of the Arab historian, Hitti, that there was no such a thing as “Palestine” at all: Palestine is not an Arab name.    Palestine is also not a Jewish name. When the Greeks were our enemies, in order not to annoy the Jews, they gave different names to the streets. So, maybe the name of Palestine will be changed. But whatever the name of the country, every citizen of the country will be a citizen. This is what we mean. This is what we have to mean. We cannot conceive that in a State where we are not in a minority, where we have the main responsibilities as the majority of the country, there should be the slightest discrimination between a Jew and a non-Jew.”

Rabin stated in 1992:

“I don’t want to make Israel a binational state. I would like to keep Israel a Jewish democratic state. By that, I mean at least 80% of its population Jewish “

Peace will only come when the PLO, Hamas and the UN General Assembly recognize that Israel is the Jewish State.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and foundation member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

5 Responses to “Netanyahu reaffirms that Israel is the Jewish State”
  1. Brian Rom says:

    Dear David

    Given the events in Christchurch this week it is unfortunate that you chose to defend nationalist and blatantly undemocratic statements from Netanyahu, straight out of the shooter’s playbook (making Netanyahu’s condemnation of the bloodbath ironic to put it mildly)

    It should be obvious from the language that there is a mile of difference between what Rabin and Nentayahu said. Even comparing the two individuals is ridiculous; one died in his pursuit for peace, the other shown no interest in this goal.

    I wonder how much part of this country you would feel if the federal government declared Australia to be the nation state of an ethnic or religious group of which you are not a member. Your right to vote would be a tokenistic insult at best.

    • David Singer says:

      Brian

      Your claim that Netanyahu made nationalist and blatantly undemocratic statements is arrant nonsense. To attempt to compare them with “the shooters playbook” in Christchurch is contemptible.

      Netanyahu was stating what is a Basic Law of the country passed democratically by its Parliament.

      The Law was adopted by the Knesset, with 62 in favor, 55 against, and two abstentions, on 19 July 2018.

      In January 2019, the Supreme Court announced that challenges to the constitutionality of the Law will be heard by an 11-justice panel. The Court will decide if the Law, in whole or in part, violates Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. Additionally, this will be the first time it addresses the question of whether it has the authority to strike down (part of) another Basic Law on such basis.

      If you had the slightest awareness of these facts you would have not made the comments you did.

      Please explain what you see as the “mile of difference” between what Rabin (and Ben Gurion whom you left out) and Netanyahu said. Unsubstantiated generalization is not worth the time it takes to write it.

      You might also explain what the United Nations meant when it resolved to divide Western Palestine into a “Jewish state” and an “Arab state” in 1947.

      You are obviously unaware that the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine recognized the right of the Jewish people to “reconstitute” the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

      I have one vote here and so do you – and so does every Israeli in Israel. Arabs comprise 20% of Israel’s population. Jews comprise 0.5% of Australia’s population. 17 Arabs are members of the 120 member Knesset. 5 Jews are members of Australia’s lower House and one is a Senator.Your take on tokenism is ludicrous.

      Feelings and emotions seem to be your shtick. More attention to facts might remedy your offensive, misleading and unsubstantiated statements.

      • Brian Rom says:

        Dear David

        I shouldn’t have to explain this, but if you say that a country is the state of one ethnic group but not for any other groups, you are not describing a modern inclusive democracy that respects all its citizens. You are describing ideas aligned with nationalist or ethnocratic states. Rabin never expressed such sentiments. By the way, President Rivlin has distanced himself from Netanyahu’s comments. Alan Dershowitz, one of Israel’s greatest defenders, has said that the Nation State law is unnecessarily provocative and if Israel’s High Court does the right thing (yes I am aware of this, thank you very much), it will strike it down or at least water down offending sections.

        When the Nation State law was passed it was perceived by Israeli Arabs/Palestinians as a slap in face. Druze soldiers in the IDF have complained that they now feel like second class citizens. What value is the right to vote if Arabs lack the numbers to vote down such a law.

        It’s interesting that you didn’t answer the hypothetical question I put to you in my last para about how you would feel (yes, feelings and emotions matter) in an equivalent scenario. Take the thought experiment further and imagine the offence taken by indigenous Australians if they were to told this is another people’s Nation State.

        • David Singer says:

          Brian:

          The reconstitution of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine has been rejected by the Jewish people’s enemies since it was first determined at the 1920 San Remo Conference. The passing of the Nation State law has reaffirmed San Remo.

          No minorities in any country possess the numbers to vote down any law unless they gain the support of other voters. If there are enough Jews in Israel who think like you, then the law can be overturned.

          If the High Court does not do the “right thing” will you accept their verdict nonetheless?

          The indigenous Australians cannot be compared to the Arab population of Palestine who were not regarded by the League of Nations as an identifiable people in 1922 when the Mandate was promulgated nor in 1947 when the UN recommended the partition of Western Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab state. That claim was only made by the Arabs in 1964.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Stick to it!!!

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