The “Jewish State” Proposal is Uncontroversial; Why the Fuss?

A bill currently before the Knesset declaring Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people is threatening to topple the ruling coalition. Although its critics have grandiosely attacked it as a chauvinistic attempt to undermine Israel’s democratic values, the bill was in fact the brainchild of a group of Israeli politicians and public figures from across the political spectrum. To understand the bill’s significance, according to Haviv Rettig Gur, one must first understand how it evolved:

In 2006 and early 2007, Israeli Arab civic groups produced three documents about the nature and identity of Israel. . . . The documents marked the first serious foray of Israeli Arab civil society into the question of Israel’s identity, and their shared conclusion was unequivocal: the Israeli state’s identification with Jewish nationhood must end. As the country’s “indigenous minority,” Israel’s Arabs deserved political autonomy, special protections, and a dismantling of the prevailing ethnic majority’s national self-determination. . . . The “Jewish nation-state” bill began squarely in the political center as a Zionist response to Arab civil society’s efforts to challenge the very principles the bill tries to cement in law.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israel's Basic Law, Israeli Arabs, Israeli democracy

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7