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Israel did not accidentally declare itself a national state of the Jews right now

Israel did not accidentally declare itself a national state of the Jews right now

July 20 2018
Tags: Israel, Middle East, Politics, Analytics, Laws, Jews

The Knesset members adopted the "Law on the Jewish Character of the State of Israel", which postulates the dominant role of the national component in the country's ideology. Simply put, Israel is now the national state of the Jews. And by reaction to this event, it is clear that there is much in common between Israel, Russia and the United States.

The new law establishes the official name "Israel", state symbols (primarily a flag and anthem), as well as the status of Jerusalem as the capital. The decision was adopted by a majority of votes: 62 was voted in favor, 55 voted against, the other two abstained.

The backbone of the "dissenters" was made up by Arab parliamentarians who saw discrimination as a nationality in the law, as well as members of the left-liberal Knesset, who saw this idea as a threat to democracy.

In turn, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the adoption of the law was a decisive moment in the history of the country and Zionism in general.

Indeed, this was the point in the long-standing discussion about the nature of the Jewish state. This dispute stems from the language given in the Declaration of Independence and the so-called Basic Laws that fulfill the role of the Constitution in Israel. The following construction is used there: "The State of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state".

In the Russian translation, the union "and" is often removed, which smoothes out the original formula, eliminating possible contradictions. Israel, as it were, is declared a democratic country, which on the occasion turned out to be Jewish (and could be Arab, Belgian, Polynesian or any other).

If we take the exact transfer of the original version, where the "Jewish and democratic state" is said, it reveals a certain antagonism that aggravates the issue and leads to a philosophical discussion: what is more important, the national character of the country or the adherence to democratic principles.

It can not be said that this dispute ever went beyond abstract political discussions. The most serious, in fact, the only restriction on the rights imposed on Arabs - Israeli citizens, to this day remains a ban on military service. This argument is often used by the champions of "rights and freedoms" as an example of discrimination, but it rarely takes into account that the army service is not so much a right as an obligation, there is no enthusiasm for the Arab community among such a perspective. That is, it is not very clear who is ultimately limited in rights: Jews who are obliged to serve by conscription, or Arabs who are spared this duty.

In Russian realities, the question of whether women discriminates against the lack of conscription in the army does not have an unambiguous answer even among feminists.

The army of Israel pursues a separate policy in the case of other groups of the population. For example, representatives of ultra-orthodox Judaism are not recruited, although they are Jews, but the Druze, on the contrary, serve, despite the fact that they are usually Muslims. In general, the East is a delicate matter, and it is hardly reasonable to cut off the spur by offering a simplified picture from the series "Zionists discriminate against the goyim".

Hardly any discrimination is expected and now - with the adoption of a new law. In any case, we are not talking about the fact that the day after tomorrow all non-Jewish population of Israel will be obliged to sew yellow crescents on clothes. Nevertheless, Arab deputies waved "Apartheid!" Posters during the discussion and defiantly tore documents. In turn, their liberal adherents of the opposition circles appealed to democratic ideals, and liberal publicists agreed that:

"Bibi (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-VZGLYAD) and his stables beautifully and juicy bring the most damp dreams of anti-Semites of the whole world to perfection, driving all Jews into the ghetto in the Middle East."

Finally, opposition leader Haim Herzog stated the following: "It is very sad that the principle of equality disappeared from this law, which was a serious argument in protecting the image of Israel."

The logic of the liberals, as usual, creates a trap for their own reasoning. If, as Herzog declared, the principle of equality now "disappears", it follows that it existed before. In this case, it is unclear what all the same liberal and Arab politicians revolted against all this time.

References to the fact that Israel can not be considered a national state of Jews, since a Jew is not a nationality but a religion, in this case does not work. At least, Israel is by no means the only national state of this type. In European practice, this can be compared with countries that have a state religion (for example, Great Britain and Denmark), in the world - with India, which proclaimed itself a country of Indians. The Hindu is also a religion, and India is inhabited by dozens of Hindu peoples - only languages ​​whose number of speakers exceeds 25 million, there are ten. At the same time, Muslims, Catholics and atheists of at least India, even Denmark, have the same rights as the religious majority.

Meanwhile, this dispute is characteristic not only of the Middle East conflict, but also of contemporary political discourse in general. In fact, we are dealing with a purely declarative gesture, which affirms ideals within a particular philosophy. It's almost the same as Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" - you can say it out loud, and it will be nice to someone, but it's quite obvious that the real life of citizens will not change for the better or for worse side. But, as in the case of America, a certain group of people can not tolerate even the declarative postulation of patriotic and / or national ideals.

In liberal Americans, the "racism" light is automatically lit on this place, and the liberal Israelis, whether Jews or Arabs, are a "discrimination" light bulb. It is also known how some of our compatriots will distort any declaration of Russian patriotism.

However, if we look at this discussion in the ideological aspect, without looking back at the real incarnations of this law (in fact and in practice it, we repeat, does not change anything), this decision of the Knesset can be written down in the active right-centrist government of Netanyahu.

Remarkable and the time of the adoption of the law: while free and independent media around the world trickle with anger because of the meeting between Trump and Putin, the Jews "under the noise" issued a pleasant solution for themselves. Obviously, in a different situation, the world's media would not miss a chance to attack Israel with accusations of discrimination and occupation. But now the global media leviathan is occupied by Russia, so the Israeli right has room for maneuver, which they used.

Andrew Counts
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