Jewish, democratic – and Israeli

The Nation-State Law crisis proves that alongside the nurturing of the state’s Jewish identity it is no less essential to nurture the “togetherness” of a broad Israeli collective.

By YAIR SHELEG
September 6, 2018 17:26
4 minute read.
Jewish, democratic – and Israeli

druze leaders in protest. (photo credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)

 
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SOMETIMES IT’S a good idea to listen carefully to what demonstrators are saying. The representatives of Israel’s Druze community who recently protested against the Nation-State Law were not so focused on the fear that the new law would deal a blow to their equal legal rights. Indeed, they argued that even before the new law was enacted, and despite the formal equality which is in place in practice – they don’t enjoy equal rights. Instead, their main objection to the new law was that it strips them of their identity as Israelis. Similarly, the Muslim Arab journalist Lucy Aharish, who uploaded a very moving clip in which she explains why the law is so harmful was more concerned with being excluded from the Israeli collective than with the prospect of her legal rights being curtailed.

Thus, while the Jewish supporters and opponents of the law are locked in conflict over its legal implications – whether or not it will jeopardize the equal rights of non-Jewish minorities in Israel – many of those very same minorities are more concerned about an entirely different issue, one that might seem to be only symbolic: their sense of inclusion in the Israeli collective. This is at the core of their anger over being made “second-class citizens.”

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