Activists calling to amend the Nation-State Law sent letters to all 120 MKs, the prime minister and the president on Wednesday, calling on them to support a change to the legislation that would include equality for all citizens.
The Task Force to Change the Nation-State Law, led by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amal Assad, sent the MKs a bill drafted by a forum of legal experts headed by former deputy Supreme Court president Elyakim Rubinstein, which seeks to “ensure minimal protection of private, not national, civil equality” but “without harming or reducing the national Jewish value of the state.”
Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People identifies Israel as such, and includes elements like the national anthem and the flag, as well as the Jewish calendar – anchoring them in a Basic Law, which has constitutional heft. It does not contradict existing Basic Laws regarding civil rights, such as Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
The letter states that the task force’s activists “fully believe that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People. At the same time, we believe that this Basic Law, establishing the Jewish character of the state, must also express its democratic character and, therefore, it must be amended.
“Civil equality for all citizens is the life’s breath of democracy,” the letter reads. “It is anchored in the Declaration of Independence, in laws and in the Jewish ethos…It would be right to give over 20% of the public that is not Jewish a feeling of partnership [via the Nation-State Law].”
The suggested draft amends the existing law in that it states that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, and that it is “a home that has equal rights for all of its citizens.” It also adds Arabic as a second official language, as opposed to the “special status” it has under the existing law.