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Hidden No More

At last, the veil has been removed…… and an Israeli law declares the country as the ‘Nation State of the Jewish People’!
On July 19, the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) passed a controversial law, characterising the West Asian country as principally a Jewish nation, by 62-55 votes, with two abstentions. Although the legislation – called ‘the Basic Law’ – changes virtually nothing about life in Israel, it certainly has a symbolic importance. The law not only says that Jews have a unique right to national self-determination there, but also puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language.
Since the birth of ‘Modern Israel’ on May 14, 1948, it has been a Jewish state and the Knesset has adopted the law only to acknowledge this fact. By officially recognising the reality as ‘natural’ and the ‘only truth’, the Benjamin Netanyahu government has sent a strong message to the Arabs: Those, who are not ready to accept the reality, will be ignored in Israel.


PM Netanyahu

Soon after the Knesset passed the law, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the House: “A hundred and twenty-two years after (the founder of modern Zionism Theodore) Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.” By highlighting the ‘sovereignty of Jewish identity’, undermining ‘democracy and equality’ and by putting Hebrew above Arabic as the official language, the premier made clear that he was determined to further intensify the Zionist movement.


Arab lawmakers stood up in protest

It is to be noted that the Knesset passed the law by 62-55 votes. It means that the decision was not unanimous. Not only 21% of Israel’s Arab population, but also a large number of Jews were against this law. PM Netanyahu’s government adopted the law to ensure the dominance of the majority. This tendency to garner popular (or nationalist) support is dangerous. Populist leaders across the globe ignore the ideology (or essence) of democracy and equality, and also abandon the idea of liberalism and pluralistic society in order to establish an authoritarian system. And, Netanyahu is no exception. Incidentally, the Israeli premier welcomed Viktor Orbán to his country just before the Knesset passed the controversial law. Orbán, the Hungarian PM, is popularly known as a radical nationalist leader. Coincidence is often meaningful!


Viktor Orbán and Benjamin Netanyahu

Radical ‘Zionism’ has already made the issue of Israel as a Jewish state an important one in recent years and also a determining factor in resolving the Israel-Palestine crisis. By adopting this controversial law, the Netanyahu government has further alienated Israel’s large Arab minority, who has always preferred the ‘two-state’ solution. It seems that the global geopolitics won’t allow the Palestinians – who lost their land seven decades ago – to build a ‘free’ State of Palestine. May be, they will have to surrender to the absolute Jewish rule and to live as second-class citizens in Palestine, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the consequence of the Six-Day War.


The Knesset

It’s difficult to predict the flow of history and Francis Fukuyama is well aware of this. To predict the ‘future’ of West Asia is nearly impossible because of its unusually complicated political character. The complexity has increased in recent times, and will increase further in the coming years. Perhaps, the tension between Saudi Arabia, Iran and the US will determine the fate (or future) of the Israelis and the Palestinians. As of now, the veil has been removed and Israel is a Jewish state.

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