A site for self-determination and against the enclosure of knowledge
By Jean Shaoul
1 December 2014
The agreement by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet to present a Jewish nation-state bill to the Knesset at the beginning of December has provoked a major political crisis.
The bill seeks to anchor Israel’s definition as an explicitly Jewish state in the country’s Basic Laws. While civil rights are theoretically still to be accorded to everyone, “according to the law”, communal or national rights will only be extended to Jewish Israelis. It, in effect, ends the state’s formal commitment to democracy and equality, rendering non-Jews—the Palestinians, Druze and Bedouin, as well as the 300,000 Russian immigrants who are not Jewish according to rabbinical law, and who together account for more than 1.5 million, or nearly 20 percent of Israel’s 8.2 million population—second class citizens.
The bill calls on the judiciary to utilize Jewish law, meaning rabbinical law, “as a source of inspiration”, and…
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