Q&A about the Nation-State Law

What's wrong with the new Nation-State Law?
1. The new Nation-State Law undermines the Declaration of Independence. While the Declaration states that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people; it also guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens, irrespective of their religion, sex or race. The Nation-State Law leaves out equality.
2. The Nation-State Law violates the standards for democratic citizenship: in democratic states across the globe, the national character of the state is always defined alongside a commitment to equality for all citizens and / or protection of the rights of minorities. The Nation-State Law leaves out minorities.

Why do the Druze and other minorities in Israel claim that the Nation-State Law harms them?
They understand that it is no coincidence that equality and the protection of minority rights were omitted from the Nation-State Law. In their eyes, the law turns them into second-class citizens, denies them of equal rights - and alienates them from their home. In contrast to other Basic Laws, they view this law as a violation of the Declaration of Independence and an upset to the balance between the Jewish and democratic character of the state. Israel's minority groups wish to be seen as equal partners and do not want to be denied of rights that other democratic countries uphold.

Isn’t the right to equality already guaranteed in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty?
The answer is no. Although the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty provides protection for minorities, the scope of its protection is limited. There are no laws in Israel which explicitly guarantee the right to full civil equality, as stipulated in the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, Israel does not have a Bill of Rights, as do the vast majority of Western democracies.

Will including "equality" in the Law, undermine the Jewish character of the Israeli state?
Absolutely not. Israel is indisputably the nation-state of the Jewish people, but it can - and must - guarantee civil rights to its non-Jewish citizens. We see this sentiment in the Bible: "You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born" (Leviticus 24:22). Equal rights for all, is not only an expression of a "democratic state" but also of a "Jewish state."

Diaspora Jews also oppose the Law. Why? If they do not live here, why should they interfere?
According to the Nation-State Law the state must act to foster ties with Diaspora Jewry abroad – rather than in Israel. The legislator surrendered to the ultra-Orthodox who wish to prevent the state from recognizing non-Orthodox currents in Judaism such as Reform and Conservative Judaism (a large and important part of Diaspora Jewry). The Law which defines the character of the state home to all Jews, makes some Jews feel more at home than others, amongst those it alienates are Diaspora Jews.