Why Israel Needs the Nation-State Law https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2018/08/why-israel-needs-the-nation-state-law/

August 2, 2018 | Eugene Kontorovich
About the author: Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, director of its Center for International Law in the Middle East, and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

In 1992, Israel passed its Basic Law on human dignity and liberty, which guarantees to its citizens certain protections roughly equivalent to those found in the American Bill of Rights. Aharon Barak, then a justice of Israel’s supreme court—and soon thereafter its president—argued at the time that this law gave the high court broad authority to strike down laws that in any way violated “human dignity,” a concept Barak believed should be determined by the values of the “enlightened community.” After seeing the court’s sweeping use of this theory, and the power arrogated by its attendant bureaucracy, some Israelis began to argue that the country needed a Basic Law that would serve as a counterweight and enshrine the country’s Jewish character as an inviolate constitutional principle. The result, following seven years of parliamentary wrangling, was the Basic Law the Knesset passed last week, defining Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people.” In conversation with Jonathan Silver, Eugene Kontorovich explains why this law is necessary, and rebuts some arguments made by its critics. (Audio, 25 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)

Read more on Jewish Leadership Conference: https://www.jewishleadershipconference.org/podcast/episode-8-zionism-and-israels-nation-state-law/