Adonis Diaries

How much of a Jewish a state? Is Israel willing to defy world community all the way?

Posted on: December 3, 2014

How much of Jewish a state? Is Israel again willing to defy world community?

The British Balfour declaration of 1917 was amenable for a Jewish homeland in part of Palestine.

In that year, Palestine barely had a few thousands Jews, mostly indigenous Jews and a few oriental Jews from Yemen and Iran.

In 1947, the UN partitioned Palestine and gave the minority Jews (40% of the population) 57% of Palestine. Even that skewered and unjust partition was not good enough for the Zionists.

By 1993, the Oslo agreement gave the Palestinians barely 20% of their lands for establishing an autonomous State. Even that agreement Israel refused to execute.

Again apartheid Israel is running headway to a wall.

How Jewish a state Israel want to be?

In a country where one in four people are not Jewish, all of Mr Netanyahu’s ministers are Jewish and only one speaks decent Arabic.

The Law of Return grants citizenship to migrants with one Jewish grandparent; Palestinians exiled in 1948 are banned from returning….

In 1949, the UN resolution 194 demanded the rights for Palestinians to return to their lands. These natural rights were denied by the Zionist State.

Human-rights groups warn that, without an express right to equality and the inclusion of international law as a source of inspiration for legislation alongside Jewish law, they will be powerless to challenge traditional interpretations that discriminate against non-Jews, women and homosexuals in the Supreme Court.

Liberal Jews fear that embedding Jewish law in legislation would speed Israel’s transformation into another Middle Eastern religious state.

What Jewish law are they talking about, asks one liberal activist: the law to love one’s neighbour as oneself or to execute homosexuals?

Nov. 29, 2014

The government wants a controversial law that would deny equality to Arabs

ONE week Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his ministers honour a Druze policeman who died protecting Jewish worshippers being hacked to death in a Jerusalem synagogue. The next day, Israel  approved constitutional legislation that would enshrine his inferior status as Druze in relation to Jews.

Actually, Druze officers and soldiers who served in the army as any Jewish Israeli do not receive the same entitlement and rights after they retire or return to civil life.

A bill approved by the cabinet on November 23rd, and sent to the Knesset, seeks to define Israel as the “national state of the Jewish people”, enhance the role of traditional Jewish law (which gives Jews preferential rights) in Israeli legislation and limit rights for non-Jewish citizens to “individual rights according to the law” (thus denying Arabs “national” rights as a minority). (Back to religious laws, such as the shari3a in Islam)

On the face of it, the representation of Israel as a Jewish state is nothing new.

It was defined as such by the UN, at the partition of British-ruled Palestine in 1947. And the Israeli state was built by Jews, for Jews.

But the new legislation goes further. Israel’s independence declaration pledged to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants”.

In the various drafts approved by the cabinet, with a 14-6 majority, the word “equality” was omitted and democracy placed second to Jewishness. Arabic was demoted from its status as an official language, alongside Hebrew.

The move is increasing political tensions. Two of the five coalition parties in Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet have opposed the bill and threaten to bring down the government. Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, has warned against making Palestinians feel as Jews did in exile. A spokesman for America’s State Department says: “All citizens should enjoy equal rights.”

Mr Netanyahu has yielded a bit (some think he always intended to), saying a new draft would reassert that Israel is “a Jewish and democratic state”, and leave the status of Arabic unchanged. But he insists the law is needed to deal with two issues:

One issue is the refusal of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to recognise Israel as a Jewish state in stalled peace talks. The other is the aspiration of some Israeli Palestinians for autonomy, particularly in the Galilee, where they comprise the majority.

Critics accuse Mr Netanyahu of playing politics and trying to woo hard-right members of his Likud party as he seeks re-election in primaries in January. And he is also keeping one eye on the prospect of an early election, as his coalition fractures.

Human-rights groups warn that, without an express right to equality and the inclusion of international law as a source of inspiration for legislation alongside Jewish law, they will be powerless to challenge traditional interpretations that discriminate against non-Jews, women and homosexuals in the Supreme Court.

Liberal Jews fear that embedding Jewish law in legislation would speed Israel’s transformation into another Middle Eastern religious state. What Jewish law are they talking about, asks one liberal activist: the law to love one’s neighbour as oneself or to execute homosexuals?

For their part, some orthodox Jews worry that the bill reduces religion to nationalism. The bill’s veneration of symbols like the flag and the anthem is “idol-worship”, wrote a rabbi.

Most alarmed of all are the 1.6m Palestinians (and Druze) with Israeli citizenship.

“Will I be subject to Jewish law?” asks one Muslim student. In the occupied territories, meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Palestinians’ umbrella body, says the bill “forgets the Palestinian historic narrative and abolishes Palestinian existence.”

A posse of current and former security officials fear that the bill could spread recent violence from Gaza and East Jerusalem into Israel proper.

Prised apart by their politicians and the spate of attacks, Israel’s Jews and Arabs grow ever more frightened of each other.

“I no longer know who to trust,” says a Jewish housewife, who has stopped taking Jerusalem’s tram to avoid Arabs. Leading rabbis have issued rulings not to employ Arabs. “Customers ask me whether I’m a Jew or an Arab before they get into my cab,” says a taxi driver.

Shabtai Shavit, a former chief of the Mossad spy agency, wrote that the zeal for Jewish nationalism could yet destroy Zionism: “The nation of Israel is galloping blindly in a time tunnel to the age of Bar Kochba and his war on the Roman Empire.” The zealots’ failure, he noted, led to 2,000 years of Jewish exile.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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