The Counter-Revolutionary Nation-State Law
Israel Affairs, Vol. 26, Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 6, 2020
Anyone who reads Israel’s Basic Law: Israel – Nation-State of the Jewish People, 5778-2018 with sufficient background knowledge of Israeli law will have a difficult time understanding what all the fuss is about. The hyperbolic criticisms — that the law establishes an ethnocracy, demotes the status of Arab citizens or the Arabic language, sends exclusionary messages or demotes equality or democracy in Israeli law — cannot be squared with a law that consists of symbolic and declarative statements that are not legally enforceable and have long been in the Israeli consensus. The real story of the law is an institutional struggle between Knesset and judiciary over Israel’s constitution. The lack of substance of the law is deliberate, and designed to highlight the contradiction between the Supreme Court’s claim of exclusive control over constitutional principles and its claim of Basic Laws’ supremacy.
Keywords: Israel, Democracy, Constitutional Law, Nation-State Law, Judicial Activism
JEL Classification: Z18, K19, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation