Highlights

Recently Israeli Supreme Court assembled to hear a special petition filed by Arab-Israeli citizens to scrap the Nation State Law.

The Nation State Law

  • Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People is informally known as the Nation State Law. It is one of the 14 constitutional laws or basic laws of Israel. The Nation State law permits Israel to identify itself as a nation-state of Jewish people. It promotes the self-determination rights of the Jewish people. The Nation State law was enacted by 2018.
  • The Nation State law downgraded Arabic language from the status of official language.
  • The Nation State law allows development of Jewish settlements in Israel.
  • The Nation State law defines the symbols of Israel such as state flag, state emblem, state anthem (Hatikvah).
  • According to the Nation State law, the language of Israel is Hebrew. On the flip side, 20 per cent of the population speak Arabic.
  • It declared Jerusalem as “Whole and United” and capital of Israel. This is contradictory to Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • The Nation State law gained constitutional status. Israel has no constitution. However, it has a set of basic laws that have constitutional status.

Impacts of the Nation State law

The Nation State law discriminates against the Arab minority in Israel. As per the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 74.2 per cent of population were declared Jewish, 17.8 per cent were declared Muslim, 2 per cent were declared Christian and 1.6 per cent were declared Druze.

About Israel-Palestine conflict

The Nation State law undermines peace process with Palestine. It is an on-going conflict. It is rooted over land claimed by Jews as their biblical birth right. In the year 1897, Jews began a movement called the Zionist movement to escape the persecution and establish their own state. WZO: World Zionist Organization was created to advocate for the establishment of Jewish homeland in Palestine. This resulted in large number of Jews in Palestine and they began to buy lands and settle down. In the year 1916, Palestine came under British control. This led to the division of Ottoman Turkish empire. After Hitler gained power in Germany, thousands resettled in Palestine from Europe. Arabs saw this as a threat to their homeland and fought bitterly.

In the year 1947, the British Government referred the issue to United Nations to split the land between the two countries. With this, the Jewish people declared independence of Israel.

Nation State Law challenged in Supreme Court Nation State Law challenged in Supreme Court