Why Israel needs the Nation State Law
February 8, 2019
On July 19, 2018, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament passed what is known as a basic law, declaring that the State of Israel is the Nation State of the Jewish people.
Why did a majority of the 120 members of the Knesset feel it necessary to memorialize in legislation that which was already declared more than 70 years earlier, when on May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel as the sovereign nation of the Jewish people in their historic homeland?
The answer lies in the fact that of all the nations in the world, the existence of no other nation state or identifiable ethnic people is so vigorously challenged, so assiduously opposed, and whose survival is so aggressively threatened as the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.
No nation in the world has been more criticized, de-legitimized or condemned by the United Nations in both the Security Council and the General Assembly. These are the very international bodies that recognized the legitimacy of Israel’s creation and welcomed the newly formed state into the community of nations as a full member.
How did this come about? The answer can be found in Arab oil, Muslim extremism and the persistent, and apparently incurable disease of anti-Semitism and its current mutation, anti-Zionism.
One would have thought that the slaughter of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust would have been a kind of final catharsis for chronic and historical hatred of Jews; that somehow the wide-spread blood-letting would have made humanity see both the evil and futility of irrational hatred toward Jews; and would have opened the eyes of the people of the world to the great treasure that the Jewish people are and historically have been to all of humanity.
Unfortunately, that was not to be. Anti-Semitism is once again rampant throughout the world. Even in the enlightened societies of Western Europe and the United States, armed guards are needed for security at Jewish schools and houses of worship.
Ironically, groups in these enlightened societies, who consider themselves oppressed, find time to promote hatred of and separation from Jews, who traditionally have always been on the front lines fighting for equality and justice for the very folks who now disavow Jewish support under the guise of anti-Zionism.
So more than 70 years after the re-establishment of the commonwealth of Israel, the world not only questions the legitimacy of the Jewish State as the homeland of the Jewish people, but passively and in many cases actively, accepts the objectives of the Arabs and Muslim extremists to either physically destroy the Jewish State or deny its ethnic, cultural and national identity with the nonsensical concept that Israel cannot be Jewish and democratic at the same time.
These are the questions I am left with. Can England be English and democratic? Can France be French and democratic? Can Italy be Italian and democratic? Can Ireland be Irish and democratic?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then the only correct answer is also yes for the people who accepted the law handed down at Sinai that has become the fundamental law of all western civilization. Israel is and cannot be anything but Jewish and democratic.
The Nation State Law was passed by the democratically elected Knesset because the world has yet to accept the legitimacy of the indigenous and sovereign Jewish people residing in their historical homeland.
It is that failure that created the necessity for this legislation; to put the world on notice of the permanency of the sovereignty of the Jewish People and the State of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.
In you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner. Shabbat Shalom and Happy New Year!
Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first Vice President and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.