Is Israel a Jewish state?

The status of Israel as a Jewish state is for Israel itself to determine, and is not at all dependent on Palestinian endorsement.

Israeli flags.
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
This basic question – with a self-evident answer for most people – has, if media reports are to be believed, turned itself into a major stumbling block on the road to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

What is at issue is not so much the fact of the matter as Palestinian acknowledgment of it. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly asked for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. He put it at its bluntest in his June 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University: “The root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in their historic homeland.”  

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