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Mass media / News

"Carved in stone". Israel passed a law about the Jewish character of the state

Radio Liberty 19.07.2018 at 16:54

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, non-profit information service funded by the U.S. Congress, broadcasting to the countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East and Russia.

The Israeli Parliament adopted the law "On the Jewish character of the state", officially defining the country as "the national homeland of the Jewish people." The law says that "the implementation of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique only to the Jewish people," has caused hot debate within Israeli society and outside it. The draft of this legislation, the first such since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, appeared in 2011, but opponents of the law in Parliament still managed to slow down its adoption. A new bill proposed by MPs from the ruling right-wing party Likud, was supported by the government of Israel in 2014. As reported on the website of the Knesset, on the morning of July 19, 62 deputies voted in favour, 55 against, and two abstained. The document was agreed after long debates, as lawmakers voted on hundreds of amendments presented by the opposition. In the end, the adopted text of the law in final form has acquired a declarative nature, which stresses that "the State of Israel is a Jewish state, where they exercised the exclusive right to ethnic, religious, historical and cultural self-determination". First, the bill was a paragraph on the "legal determination" that there is a proposal to use a country's legal system elements of ancient Jewish law, however, the final version of it was deleted. Official holidays in Israel declared a Jewish holiday or Saturday, the Shabbat. At the same time people of another religion and nationality can use to stay other days. Also, the document has already been briefly known informally as the "Law of Nations", contained these important paragraphs, as a recognition of the "one and indivisible" Jerusalem the only legitimate capital of Israel and the recognition of Hebrew as the sole official language of the country. The Arabic language, which previously had equal rights with Hebrew, now has "special status". Another provision of the act States that "the state is considering the development of Jewish settlements (settlements in Judea and Samaria, created by Israeli citizens since 1967 in the territories captured during the six day war. – Approx. RS) as a national value and will act to encourage their creation and consolidation". The above paragraphs caused the most heated debate and the sharp criticism from opponents of the new law, which they call a blueprint of the ideas of apartheid, a racist initiative that provides Jews a preferential and sometimes exclusive rights, in comparison with the Arabs constituting 20 percent of Israel's population. In total, the State of Israel is home to approximately 8 million 800 thousand people. What practical consequences may result in the adoption of a new "law of nation", in an interview with radio Liberty, told Israeli journalist and political analyst, chief editor of the newspaper "Details" Emile Shleimovich: – Ordinary Israelis on the street is not very focused on this, as there are things which they seem to be more pressing – the shelling of settlements in the South of the Gaza strip, the rise in price of products and so on. Very heated debate in connection with the adoption of this law goes in political circles, among the prominent figures of civil society. First, this law was discussed for years. For the law was made by the Israeli right-wing parties, primarily the Likud. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has posted a very celebratory messages about this in his Facebook, immediately after the law was passed. In particular, this: "We carved in stone: this is our country, our language, our national anthem, our coat of arms". The opposition expressed a lot of objections. Israel has no Constitution, it replaced we have a number of basic laws and this law, too, now is the main, and it has points which caused a very serious debate. Until now, Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic. Now the Hebrew rises over the Arabic language. It is unlikely to find some reflection in real life, because before, in cases where required, for example, put the pointer on the highway, which also contains Arabic script, or send an official document in Arabic, everything happened without problems, and now everything will be done as well. But status, of course, is a new kind of state position. Until now, Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic. Now the Hebrew rises over the Arab language is Still a very controversial paragraph: "the Government sees the development of settlements in the national values and encourage and promote it". We are talking about territories of Judea and Samaria is disputed territory, many often say that the settlers are an obstacle to the peace process. It was also stated that the Commission in settlements will be able to decide who they will allow in a particular locality to live and who does not. It also caused great criticism, because opponents of the law argued that it is a manifestation of apartheid. I'm not sure, incidentally, whether this paragraph in the final version. There are some settlements which, in fact, is done, for example, Hadera, a satellite of Nazareth, or Carmiel in the Western Galilee, in the North, where the Arabs from the neighboring villages quietly bought an apartment. There were small Arab neighborhoods, their presence in the city increased, and that someone didn't like. It has been speculated that if it left, he aimed precisely against such a relocation. Although in Israel there is a situation when a Jew if you want not be able to buy an apartment in many Arab localities. In any case, this national-territorial division exists. It is now legal in small towns, in the framework of the competence of these local committees, but the city so far, these rules did not apply. – According to critics of the law, what fundamentally changed in the internal politics and life of the country for most of its inhabitants, with all the documents and status? – One of the most prominent critics of this law – co-Chairman of the block "Zionist camp" party Chairman "Ha Tnua" Tzipi Livni. She is confident that the Netanyahu government this law makes a gift to Israel's enemies. Tzipi Livni warns that now we are talking not only about the conflict between Jews and Arabs. Different groups can begin to create certain enclaves only for himself, and warns Livni, will sign that "here be allowed secular and are denied entrance to new immigrants", "there's no service to those who held heterodox convert to Judaism". As a result, the law is to unite Israeli society will begin to break up. "The law of the nation" goes beyond even the State of Israel the "Law of nation" goes beyond even the state of Israel itself, because it shows today's world, which, in the opinion of many, is suffering from a wrong concept of multiculturalism and the breaking of Patriarchal cultural values, some unexpected new model, ideologically quite right, call it so. If to transfer his essence to European soil, it would look speculatively: "you Know, in France, in Britain, in Italy all citizens are equal, but the French, the British, the Italians are "more equal". In Israel, in General, this law, in my opinion, does not create preconditions for a new secondary infringement of any categories of citizens. But it legitimizes some of the national idea. What opponents of this law, which remain Democrats, people on the progressive-leftist and so forth, of course, may not like. – Will the adoption of this law some changes in the status of the everyday life of the Israeli Russian-speaking community, there are some concerns? – No, in my opinion, no changes for the Russian-speaking community will not happen. The law is not seen-so-scary items that tomorrow will be able to bounced on the Russian-speaking community, if only then on its base starts to receive some regulations. However, I can't even imagine what it can innovation. Yes, Israel is no longer two official languages but one, but Russian all the same was not included in their number, and all this does not mean that in clinics, for example, ceases to produce the brochure in Russian. To assume that somewhere there will be a settlement in which it will be forbidden to settle immigrants from the former Soviet Union? You can assume anything, but I'm sure in practice this will not happen. Not to mention the fact that such reluctance to see the "Russian" and now it is possible to disguise some other reasons to explain failure, do not give people live there.

In Israel in General, everything is perceived through the prism of Arab-Israeli coexistence, or the Arab-Israeli conflict, despite which side anyone watching In Israel, and the law, and do absolutely everything is perceived through the prism of Arab-Israeli coexistence, or the Arab-Israeli conflict, despite which side anyone is looking. The Israeli right believe the adopted law is a reflection of this confrontation that "we prove its priority over other groups." And the left, look at it as a possible obstacle to coexistence in absolutely equal conditions and boundaries. The Arabs contend that was too low status of the Arabic language that restricted freedom of residence in certain localities. This is a big big question about what exactly is the State of Israel. I remind you, we are talking about state, almost all of the outer boundaries of which in varying degrees are still controversial, therefore, in reality, it is hardly possible to compare our situation with France, Britain or any other more or less established country. Israel is a country that is still in the process of formation of a society of coexistence with neighbours, and, so to speak, geopolitical, and national neighbors, inside of the state. – What they say about the new law, the Palestinian leaders? They, of course, strongly oppose. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, as specified in the act. Flag the state flag is white with two blue stripes and the star of David in the center. And the national anthem of Israel is Hatikva. You can imagine their reaction. The Arabs in Israel refuse to sing the song because they sing that "the Jewish soul two thousand years of dreaming of Zion", to put it mildly. The law de jure confirms what has long ago de facto, But all of their current and future statements, in my opinion, will not be a criticism that will have some practical consequences. Will expressed indignation, which soon will be forgotten. Because the background of the war in Yemen, the Sunni-Shia and Saudi Arabia with Iran, against the backdrop of war in Syria and what is happening inside the Palestinian authority, it is now for the Arab world, for politicians outside Israel rather unimportant topic. Now adopted the law, in General, a de jure confirms what has long ago de facto. So the criticism will be, but no more than declarative, says Emile Shleimovich.