Monday, August 13, 2018

Declarations of 'fervent support' for nation-state law

From Israel Hayom, 9 Aug 2018, by Mati Tuchfeld and Israel Hayom Staff:

A group of former Prisoners of Zion and the group Professors for a Strong Israel each voiced their support for the nation-state law in letters to government ministers and Knesset lawmakers on Wednesday.

"We, the aliyah activists and Prisoners of Zion, who paid for our aspirations to be in the Land of Israel, the State of Israel, the land of the Jewish people with lengthy prison sentences declare our fervent support for the nation-state law passed by Israel's Knesset. This Basic Law strengthens the connection of Jews from all over the world to the State of Israel and proclaims that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people," the Prisoners of Zion wrote.
"It seems that the need to enact a national law has been on the agenda since the establishment of the independent state of Israel. In our view, it is rather strange that this was only now passed.
"We hope the legislation will block the incessant attempts to empty Israel of its Jewish national character and turn it into a state of all its citizens.
"There is no contradiction between democracy and nationalism. Both these premises complete and strengthen one another. Moreover, the Jewish national character of the state serves to guarantee the existence and development of democracy."
The letter also condemned opponents of the law.

"It is peculiar that there are certain groups and people who on the one hand call themselves Zionists but on the other hand reject the nation-state law. It is inconceivable that one can be a Zionist and oppose the nation-state law. Furthermore, the attacks on the nation-state law are continuing and even growing, even after the legislation was lawfully passed by the Knesset. This clearly contradicts the democratic process.
"The nation-state law does not violate the rights of non-Jewish citizens and every law-abiding citizen who fulfills their civic duties will be afforded respect and equality. The nation-state law established the Jewish national character of the state and lays a solid foundation for the existence of a democratic, healthy and prosperous society in which there is room for diversity of opinion and belief."

The group Professors for a Strong Israel also voiced support for the legislation on Wednesday. Members criticized opponents of the law, saying that 
"a large group has formed whose goal is to transform the State of Israel from the Jewish nation-state to a state of all its citizens, through the negation of the idea of a Jewish state."Supporters of this approach, and they are many, act in various ways to promote their goal, including through the judicial system, the activities of the branches of the New Israel Fund and now through the employment of non-Jewish minorities."
Meanwhile, the Kohelet Policy Forum convened on Wednesday to toast the enactment of the nation-state law. Among those in attendance were the founders of the Institute for Zionist Strategies and other activists involved in the various stages of formulating and preparing the legislation.

Also in attendance were Likud MKs Avi Dichter and Amir Ohana, Jerusalem Affairs Minister and mayoral candidate Zeev Elkin, Aramean Christianity representative Shadi Halul and Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth.

Dichter told the conference that those who claim the law contradicts the Declaration of Independence and harming minorities had obviously not read it or were trying to pull the wool over others' eyes.

Kohelet Policy Forum head Moshe Koppel said that in another 20 years, the current uproar over the law would be long forgotten. He said all that would be remembered would be that in 2018 the Knesset legislated one of the most important laws in the state's history.