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What's in a name?
B. Michael wonders why 60 years after Israel's induction, there's still no such thing as a legal definition of an 'Israeli'

I'm sorry. It appears I haven't had an Israeli moment yet. I can count a lot of meaningful, deserving moments in my life, but not so much as one "Israeli moment."

 

I have, however, had my fair share of Jewish moments. Most, unfortunately, were quit embarrassing, not to say shameful; like the moment my state's army washed its hands from all responsibility  for the deaths of a mother and her four children, setting new records of grotesqueness. That was definitely one of those memorable moments I'll have to wait for Alzheimer's to help me forget.

 

I've had my fare share of humane moments as well; of personal moments and of mundane ones, but when asked to recall an "Israeli moment", I found that there was no such thing.

 

A moment, it seems, can be many things, but Israeli? There is no legal definition, no official record of obligating document acknowledging me as an Israeli, or our nationality as such.

 

The subtleties of definition

My country recognizes 135 nationalities. I checked. But my fellow citizens walk around with only eight mysterious asterisks noting their nationality on their ID cards; as if it was the rating of super-prestigious hotel. I double-checked on driving licenses, credit card slips and the odd bus pass – there is no such thing as an "Israeli."

 

During my labyrinthine search for an answerer, I even turned to official sources. Imagine my surprise when I found that the State had informed the High Court that "acknowledging the Israeli nationality undermines the very foundations of the Jewish state." So I ask: If the law does not recognize me as an Israeli, is it any wonder I'm still waiting for my Israeli moment? Who am I to undermine our very foundation simply so I can have a "moment?"

 

I was on the verge of giving up and then I found one document which does acknowledge Israel as the home to all those bearing an Israeli nationality – the passport.

 

Only on our State-issued passport – on its English part and no where else – does it say 'Nationality: Israeli.' As simple as that and applied for all, regardless of race, gender, color or creed. We are all Israeli nationals – but only aboard.

 

Overseas, only there does the Israeli nationality appear to exist. Overseas, it appears, is where I shall seek my Israeli moments. One, you see, must obey the law.

 

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