Photo: Shaul Golan
Dov Weissglass
Photo: Shaul Golan

What a ridiculous move

Op-ed: Defining Israel’s Jewishness through pledge of allegiance form meaningless

The State of Israel has never defined itself by law as a “Jewish state”; Israel’s Jewishness is a factual, practical situation that persists in line with the desire of most of the country’s citizens.


The absolute Jewish majority in the State of Israel wants a state with a Jewish character, whether religious or national, and has lawfully made use of its government power to maintain a Jewish way of life in most of the State of Israel’s territory.


As the State of Israel’s Jewish character is in fact maintained only thanks to the Jewish demographic advantage, the term “Jewish state” is equivalent to the term “a state with a Jewish majority,” as upon the lose of the Jewish majority – heaven forbid – the State of Israel shall cease to exist as a “Jewish state.”


The pledge of allegiance required of new naturalized citizens is in fact an administrative act of a legal nature, where a new citizen is required to pledge his or her allegiance to the State of Israel and to uphold its laws.


The new citizen understands what is expected of him. He knows the law and what it means to uphold it, which is the essence of loyalty to the State and its manifestation; this is what he pledges and he has the ability to uphold this pledge.


No practical meaning

Yet when a new citizen is required to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” what exactly is expected of him? What is he pledging? To admit to the existence of a Jewish majority in Israel? To support the majority’s right to maintain a Jewish life? Or is he expected to actively work towards preserving the Jewish majority? And how so? Should he convert? Help others convert? Convince Jews to move to Israel, or maybe convince Israeli Jews not to leave it?


The demand for new citizens to recognize the State of Israel’s “Jewishness” imposes an administrative obligation on irrelevant parties who cannot uphold the demand in any case. This demand lacks any practical meaning and constitutes the improper utilization of an administrative procedure for an extraneous purpose.


When the State of Israel truly wishes to define itself as a “Jewish state,” it should go ahead and do so via the legislation of a Basic Law, and not through a ridiculous Interior Ministry form.



פרסום ראשון: 10.11.10, 00:46
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