Dear non-Jewish Israeli compatriots: we will not abandon you

6 May

Israel’s constitution recognizes Israel as a home land of the Jewish people because of the Holocaust and the fact that while many Jews were being killed, other countries refused to accept them as refugees.

Another Israel independence day is over. And just like many others before it, it was a lot of fun. Seeing friends, eating , drinking, dancing, watching the air force flyover and of course feeling proud of this country’s achievements. And there is a tremendous amount to be proud of.

Just remember that this country is only 66 years old, yet it has the strongest armed forces in the region (and stronger than majority of European countries) and more importantly, it has the strongest democracy in the region. There are free and fair elections held here, while Israel has an independent judiciary and a free press. And per capita we have won more Nobel prizes than any other country. I am so proud of Israel’s achievements. I am so lucky to be alive during this generation. Look at us. 70 years ago my people were being gassed and murdered in cold blood , yet no one cared. And now look.

Yet, just standing in the mirror and asking “who is the prettiest of them all” won’t help this country. There are also things which are wrong with this country. And we have to fix them.

We have a serious challenge ahead of us and that is Netanyahu’s proposed basic law which aims to enshrine Israel as a “Jewish people’s nation-state”

The declaration of the state of Israel recognizes the state of Israel as the “national homeland” of the Jewish people.

The declaration explicitly states that Israel among other things will :

ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex

Netanyahu now wants to pass a law which will identify Israel as a “Jewish nation-state”. Therefore one religion will have superiority over others. This will be “our” (i.e Jewish) country. Meaning: dear Christian and Muslim Israelis, this is not your country and will never be.

So why does Netanyahu have to do this? Within its borders only 20% of Israelis are non Jews. There is no chance that Jews will be outnumbered inside Israel. Meanwhile Israel’s flag and national anthem all point to Israel being Jewish.

So why go a step further? Why create legal differentiation between Jews and non Jews, when the country’s declaration of state calls for equality? Why put us Jews above non Jews in this country? Why allow extremists to use such a law (if it passes) to use it to undermine non Jews in Israel?

Of course Jewish extremists would go after non Jews with such a law. And legally they will be able to push non Jews around, because this will be the “Jewish nation-state”. Next time a politician wants to silence Muslim calls for prayers in Jaffa (as they have tried before), they could just use your law to do it, because you have made this country a “Jewish nation – state”. They (the racists) are Jews and the victims are non Jews. And guess which side your law would allow to win?

And more importantly Mr Netanyahu, what is exactly “Jewish” about such legal segregation which you aim to create?

In reality, there is no real need for such a law. The Likud lives and thrives by creating enemies for the state of Israel. Netanyahu is doing this because he needs to create new enemies for Israel. Isolation serves his interests, and this is what he is after.

Such a law can not pass. We will not abandon our non-Jewish compatriots. 

We have our hope “Hatikva”, and we will not relent.

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