Shaul Rosenfeld

A welcome ‘Jewish’ step

Op-ed: Israel fully entitled to demand pledge of allegiance, similarly to other countries

When Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi was asked to respond to the proposal requiring citizenship applicants to “pledge their allegiance to the State of Israel also as a Jewish, democratic state,” he made sure to note the symbolism inherent in this “racist decision” being taken 60 years after the Law of Return’s approval.


Indeed, the new regulation, just like the 60-year-old law, cannot but upset those who define themselves as Palestinian, such as Tibi, who more than anything perhaps seeks to eliminate Israel as a Jewish State, and who has never supported the position of his own state in any conflict with its enemies.


However, just like Hanin Zoabi and Azmi Bishara in the past, Tibi and his comrades are no more than Palestinian emissaries in our parliament who would have a hard time realizing their desire to see the Jewish State’s demise without the help of Israel’s “progressive forces.”


And so, the High Court rejected the petitions against the Citizenship Law amendment, which among other things was meant to deprive the legal status of Palestinians who wed Israeli Arabs. One of the majority-decision justices joined minority judges Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish, arguing that “the law harms fundamental rights to a greater extent than required.”


Each side hid its true intentions: The State did not speak out fully and focused all its arguments on the security front; meanwhile, the Arab petitioners maintained their deception and did not openly declare their longtime desire to terminate the Jewish state.


The views of the other petitioners, just like minority judges and other jurists, adopted the “progressive” and “humane” position whereby human/civil rights, especially of minority groups, will always be superior to the national desires of the majority, and in most cases to the majority’s security as well – even when it’s completely clear that these minority groups are devoted to very inhumane and unprogressive aims in respect to the majority.


What about other countries?

The important decision on the Citizenship law should mostly be seen as another layer in the government’s attempt to address (even if partly and insufficiently) the Citizenship Law and question of entry to Israel. This issue is still pending before the High court, among other things because of the petitions of the Adalah Organization and Zahava Gal-On, with victory for the State (and for anyone anxious about its Jewish character) being far from guaranteed with Chief Justice Beinish at the helm.


The Knesset, which approves this temporary order since 2003, will again be called upon to do so – however, temporary orders by their very nature are supposed to elapse eventually, with the High Court possibly curbing it this time around. Moreover, this time the State will have trouble reusing the security argument that was barely proven sufficient in 2006; at a time of security calm, this argument may turn out to be very unreliable and a wrong approach to take.


A possible hint to this was granted only about two months ago when Justice Ayala Procaccia, one of the minority judges in 2006, ruled that “a resident of the region who seeks to enter and stay in Israel in the framework of family reunification is not expected to hold allegiance to the State of Israel.”


And why in Heaven’s name should Procaccia be bothered by the fact that in many countries, including the US, Australia, Austria, Holland, Ireland, and Denmark, citizenship seekers must sign a pledge of allegiance? Why the hell should she take note of trivialities such as the fact that in Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Italy, Britain, Greece, and Finland among others, lawmakers introduced immigration limits in recent years and/or set strict citizenship regulations, while granting clear preferences to members of the above nations or their descendents?


And so, if even the duty of allegiance is not expected of unification seekers (only in the “racist” Israel of course, but not in Ramallah heaven forbid,) and security grounds no longer apply, it is easy to assume who the High Court would support this time. Hence, the realization of the Palestinian demand of return (under the innocent codename of “family reunification”) with the High Court’s seal of approval can only be prevented by the government and Knesset.


The government has embarked on this task, and the Knesset must not rest until the mission is accomplished – of course, before the High Court will reshuffle the Jewish State’s deck and character.


Dr. Shaul Rosenfeld is a philosophy lecturer




פרסום ראשון: 07.19.10, 11:34
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