Supreme Court upholds law recognizing Israel as ‘nation-state’ of Jewish people

The law, which recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People, “does not hurt the individual rights of any Israeli citizen,” regardless of faith or ethnicity, Justice Minister Sa’ar said.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected 15 petitions aimed at repealing the nation-state law on Thursday afternoon, effectively upholding the law.

The petitions were aimed at preventing the law, which officially declares Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People, from being incorporated into the future official Constitution of Israel, should such a document be created.

The Court ruled 9-1 that it did not have the authority to intervene or comment on the content of the law because it was passed by the Knesset as a quasi-constitutional Basic Law.

“The…law… [may be] a chapter in our emerging Constitution, which is intended to anchor the elements of the state’s identity as a Jewish state, without detracting from the elements of the state’s democratic identity enshrined in other basic laws and constitutional principles,” the justices noted.

The sole dissenter, Justice George Karra, argued that the nation-state law could weaken Israel’s status as a democratic state, which would give the Court the authority to rule on it.

Justice Minister and longtime judicial reform advocate Gideon Sa’ar welcomed the decision, writing on Twitter that “the Court did well in deciding to dismiss the petition, as there was no ground for intervening in the legislation.”

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“The law also does not hurt the individual rights of any Israeli citizen,” he added.

In a statement, Israeli-Arab advocacy group Adalah equated the law enshrining Israel as the home of the Jewish people with policies in Nazi Germany and apartheid-era South Africa.

“It has now been conclusively proven that the High Court does not protect Palestinians from laws that are among the most racist in the world since World War II and the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa,” the group said.

According to NGO Monitor, Adalah’s director general previously said during an Arabic-language interview that “the law clearly shows how the Israeli regime is a colonial system of apartheid, in violation of the Apartheid Convention, which considers apartheid a crime against humanity.”