Last week, the Israeli Knesset passed a new basic law which in the main enshrines “Israel [as] the historical homeland of the Jewish people in which the State of Israel was established… The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people… Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”
On the surface, there is not much new in this law. Israel has been practicing its provisions for many years. Nevertheless, the law betrays Israel’s foundational document, its declaration of independence. It will severely cripple Israel’s democracy, and the argument that the new law does not tamper with Israel’s democracy and equality among all of its citizens regardless of their cultural, racial, or religious orientation is fake, misleading, and ultimately self-defeating.
The new law further limits immigration to Israel to Jews only, indirectly relegates the Israeli Arabs to second class citizens, and allows discrimination against non-Jews in allocating resources for housing and segregated communities.
The law will serve as a recipe for the continuing conflict with the Palestinians at large while further diminishing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and will have an adverse effect on future relations between Israel and the Western democracies.
Furthermore, this law officially embraces revisionist Zionism that focuses exclusively on the right of the Jews to the land of Palestine with a Jewish state, and discards the mainstream of Israeli Jews who are appalled by the scene of Palestinian oppression in the territories and gross human rights violation.
Finally, the law will alarmingly increase the alienation of world Jewry (largely reform Jews) from Israel and may well unravel the historic bond between all Jews, regardless of their places of residence. To be sure, it is a sad day for Israel and it will be remembered in infamy.