To much fanfare and controversy, the Knesset last week passed a basic law—a law with de-facto constitutional status—declaring Israel “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” The new law’s clauses grant official status to the Hebrew language (while granting unique “special status” to Arabic), the national anthem, and the Israeli flag; others proclaim that the state “will act to encourage and promote” Jewish settlement and “will be open for Jewish immigration.” While some of the law’s critics have claimed, wrongly, that it relegates non-Jews to second-class citizenship and spells the end of liberal democracy in the country, others have contended that it is a wholly unnecessary restatement of what is already in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Emmanuel Navon argues that it is anything but unnecessary:
Why Israel Needs a Nation-State Law
The Knesset Has Resumed Its Business, but Both Sides Have Broken Unwritten Rules
Yesterday, eleven months of political stalemate in Israel appeared to have come to an end as the sitting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his main rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to form a unity government together with some of the smaller parties. This development has fractured Gantz’s Blue and White party into its constituent factions. Meanwhile, the resignation of Yuli Edelstein as interim Knesset speaker—a position meant to be occupied for just a few hours, but which he has held for nearly a year—has allowed the Knesset to resume business as usual.