MembersIsrael’s Nation-State Law: The Majority Also Has Rights

Israel’s controversial Nation-State Law has seemingly put at odds Judaism and Democracy.

By Aviel Schneider |
Yuli Edelstein
Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

Which of the two value systems should hold greater sway in the reborn State of Israel? “Judaism and Democracy do not have to contradict one another,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Israel Today. “Foundational democratic values such as majority rule, protecting minorities and caring for the needy are also basic principles of Judaism. Israel is blessed to be both a Jewish and a Democratic state, for both value systems complement one another.”

Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law in Jerusalem, has a less optimistic view of the new law. “That Israel is the national home of the Jewish people is beyond dispute. But the Nation-State Law is an unnecessary and dangerous proposal. It threatens to disrupt the delicate balance between Judaism and Democracy,” he warned. The historic decision took place in July, when the Knesset voted 62-55 in favor of a bill that enshrines Israel’s Jewish identity in the nation’s Basic Laws, the foundational legal code intended to serve as a draft for a future constitution, and which guides many of Israel’s...

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