Constitutional Identity in Israel: Proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

The paper article focuses on the definition of Israel as a Jewish state. It argues that while the debate on the Jewishness of the state has focused, for many years, on questions of religion and state, in recent years the focus has shifted from religion to nationalism, in a manner that makes it difficult to reconcile the two terms. The perception that recognition of an Israeli nation impedes the existence of a Jewish nation and poses a threat to the nature of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic underlies the current debated regarding the proposed: Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People. The paper argues that the attempt to constitutionally entrench the Jewish nature of the state is intended to prevent any challenges to the exclusive identification of the state with the Jewish nation and to prevent Israel’s Arab-Palestinian citizens from making any collective claims for recognition, which is difficult to be reconciled with basic notions of equality and democracy.