Israeli Knesset approves Jewish Nation-State Bill

  • Posted on: 19 July 2018

On Wednesday July 18th, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) voted in favor of the controversial bill that aims to define the country as a Jewish nation-state and approved into law following a second and third reading on the same day. A final draft of the bill was already approved back on Monday July 16th and the legislation would now be enshrined in the quasi-constitutional Basic Law.

The major consequences of this law include the marginalization of some 1.8 million Palestinians and other minorities who possess Israeli citizenship which would ultimately lead to the stripping of Israel’s democratic nature. Not to mention, the bill promotes the expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands in the West Bank as described in article 7.

In this sense, one of the main components of the proposed law would see Hebrew being recognized as the sole official language, which would set aside Arabic. Moreover, Ministers of Knesset (MKs) agreed to stipulate in the bill the right reserved to certain communities to exclude other citizens from living in particle locations based on religion and ethnicity.

However, some opponents to the bill pointed out that after the bill was approved, the Supreme Court of Israel could challenge it due to its almost constitutional standing. Also, several proponents of the bill expressed concerns over how the bill would affect Israel’s image in the international arena.

As such, it is noteworthy to point out that the bill was first proposed in 2011 and has faced many issues such as rewrites or even challenges by parallel proposals. Despite those obstacles, with a clear majority of 62 votes in favor of the bill against 55, it has officially become law.