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Basic Law

  • The ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’: Turning liberal Zionism on its head

    Cementing the supremacy of national group rights over individual minority rights upends the precarious balance between Jewish and democratic, upon which liberal Zionism relies. For the 'Nation-State Law's authors and political patrons, however, this is just the beginning. Liberal Zionists of all stripes tend to have one thing in common: the belief — or at least the hope — that Israel can reconcile and balance being a Jewish and a democratic state, serving both as the realization of Jewish national self-determination and as a modern liberal state that guarantees equality to all its citizens regardless of their religion or ethnic…

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  • Is the 'Jewish nation-state' bill good for anyone at all?

    A law seeking to prioritize and designate Israel as the Jewish nation-state is exposing the crazies in Israel's government. This proposed basic law would codify and demarcate the state as something that belongs only to a subset of its citizens. The cabinet on Sunday passed a preliminary reading of a law — with the weight of a constitutional amendment — that would declare Israel to be the nation-state of the Jewish people. In order to pass the vote, Prime Minister Netanyahu put forward 14 principles on which the basic law’s final wording will be based. Democracy is in there as an afterthought, equality…

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  • The burden, and wall, of Zionism

    Zionism has come to refer not to the many ways of building Israel, but to a litmus test. Any answer other than ‘I am a Zionist,’ is akin to being un-American in the 1950s. I didn’t join a Labor Zionist youth movement at 14 because I thought of myself as a Zionist. Actually I shied away from group identities, bouncing among social cliques at school and staying away from team sports. My parents just didn’t know what to do with me one summer and they heard about a nice Jewish camp, not too expensive. The Habonim-Dror camp turned out to…

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  • Threats to Israeli democracy, tolerance gather momentum

    If the threat against Israeli democracy is not recognized and opposed, it will gather momentum until inevitably, one of democracy’s vital organs – tolerance, enshrined in law, for minority groups and minority opinions – will cease to function. By Rachel Liel One thing on which virtually all Israelis, from right to left, can agree is that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, whose 16th anniversary was marked this past Saturday night with the traditional annual rally, proved that something had indeed gone horribly wrong in this country’s democracy. The chants of “Rabin is a traitor,” the oft-seen posters of him wearing…

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