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BASIC LAW PROPOSAL: ISRAEL – THE NATION STATE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

1. Basic Principles
(a) The Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
(b) The State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it exercises its natural, cultural, religious and historic right to self-determination.
(c) The exercise of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people.

2. State Symbols
(a) The name of the State is “Israel.”
(b) The State of Israel’s flag is white, with two blue stripes along its top and bottom edges, and a blue Star of David at its center.
(c) The State of Israel’s official emblem is the Menorah – a seven-branched candelabrum – flanked by olive branches on both sides, with the word “Israel” underneath.
(d) The State of Israel’s national anthem is “Hatikvah.”
(e) The details regarding the official state symbols will be set in law.

3. The capital of the State of Israel
The complete and undivided city of Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.

4. Language
(a) Hebrew is the official language of the State of Israel.
(b) The Arabic language enjoys a special status in the State of Israel. The formalization of the use of the Arabic language in government institutions and before them shall be as set in the law
(c) The contents of this paragraph shall in no way derogate from the status given in fact to the Arabic language before the application of this Basic Law.

5. The Ingathering of the Exiles
The State of Israel shall be open to Jewish immigration and the ingathering of the exiles.

6. Relationship with the Jewish People
(a) The State of Israel shall act to assure the safety of the members of the Jewish people and its citizens who suffer distress or captivity because they are Jewish or because of their citizenship.
(b) The State of Israel shall act in the Diaspora to preserve the relationship between the State of Israel and the members of the Jewish people.
(c) The State of Israel shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among the Jews of the Diaspora.

7. Jewish settlement
The State of Israel considers the development of Jewish settlement to be a national value and will act to further encourage and advance the establishment of such settlement.

8. Official Calendar
The Hebrew Calendar is the official calendar of the State of Israel, and alongside it, the civil calendar will serve as an official calendar; the use of the Hebrew calendar and civil calendar will be set in law.

9. Independence Day and Memorial days
(a) Independence Day is the official national holiday of the State of Israel.
(b) Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism and Holocaust Memorial Day are official memorial days of the State of Israel.

10. Days of Rest
Shabbat [Saturday] and the Jewish Holidays are the designated days of rest in the State of Israel; non-Jews are entitled to hold their days of rest on their days of rest and holidays; details regarding this matter will be set in law.

11. Immutability
This Basic Law shall not be amended except by another Basic Law, passed by a majority of Knesset Members.

EXPLANATORY MATERIAL

The purpose of this law is to protect, through legislation of a Basic Law, Israel's status as the state of the Jewish people. This protection will be equal to the protection granted to the State's democratic character and to human rights by Israel's existing Basic Laws. This will complete, in the Basic Law legislation framework, the integration of those values that characterize Israel's path as a Jewish and democratic state, in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The State of Israel is a democratic state which is committed to civil and human rights. At the same time, Israel also has a special purpose as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Supreme Court President Shimon Agranat expressed this well when he wrote: "There can be no doubt – and this is made clear in the statements made when the establishment of the State was declared – that not only is Israel a sovereign and independent State that supports freedom and whose government is based on the rule of the people, it was also established as a Jewish state in the land of Israel; that the act of its establishment was done primarily in accordance with the natural and historical right of the Jewish people to live as all other nations, independently, in its sovereign country, and that this act served as the realization of the aspiration held for many generations, for the redemption of Israel . . . . [This is] a basic constituting fact which no authority whatsoever of the State may ever . . . deny in its exercise of any of its powers. Since, if this is not said . . . the significance will be an absolute rejection of the history of the Jewish people and of its aspirations . . . " (HCJ 1/65 Yardor v. Chairman of the Central Elections Committee for the Sixth Knesset, [1965] IsrSC 19(3) 365, at p. 385). Since these remarks were made, the Knesset has enacted Basic Laws regarding the protection of human rights and Israeli democracy, and it did so in order to anchor those protections within its Basic Law system. Thus, it is also necessary that Israel's set of Basic Laws should include the protection of Israel's values as the state of the Jewish people, giving such protection equal status.

This Basic Law will also anchor the State of Israel's deep commitment to the Jews of the Diaspora. Israel sees itself as a nation-state which is designated to include within it all the Jews in the world who wish to immigrate to it, and as one which is committed to all of world Jewry as they are. Claims are sometimes heard, with respect to the most recent generation, that this connection is becoming weaker. There are those who see a decline in the sense of a connection between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, both among Israelis and among young Diaspora Jews. This Basic Law, which anchors the Zionist principles of the State of Israel as the state of the entire Jewish people, will renew this historical alliance between .the totality of world Jewry, and will strengthen the connection between Diaspora Jewry and Israel and the connection between Israelis and the Jews of the Diaspora

Beyond the legal aspect described above – the need for the Basic Law: Israel as the National Home of the Jewish People, becomes even more important during these times, in which demands are being made to annul the Jewish people's right to a national home in its land, and the recognition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. The State of Israel – which demands that its opponents recognize it as the state of the Jewish people, and which asks its supporters through the world to support this demand – must be ready to declare, though its highest legislative expression, that the State itself is willing to carry this identity proudly. A Basic Law such as this will also have a significant educational impact .within the State itself

The first clause anchors, in a Basic Law, Israel's exclusive status as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This clause also establishes that all of Israeli law should be interpreted in light of this principle, as the Court has already established that all of Israeli law must be interpreted in light of the principles of the human rights established in the Basic Law: Human Rights and Dignity. (FH Cri 2316/95 Ganimat v. State of Israel [1995] IsrSC 49(4) 589). This clause is therefore not intended to grant preference to this Basic Law over Basic Laws that deal with human rights, but only to ensure equal status for this Basic Law, as compared to those other Basic Laws. This Basic Law sets out the practical aspects that express the fact that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Some of these are already expressed in existing legislation: the State symbols (anthem, flag and symbol), Jerusalem as its capital, its official language, the right of return, the ingathering of the exiles, Jewish settlement, connection with Diaspora Jewry, the Jewish calendar and the holy sites.

Other draft laws that are basically similar have been placed before the eighteenth Knesset by MK Avraham Dichter and a group of other MK's (Private/3541/18) and by MK Aryeh Eldad (Private/4096/18); before the nineteenth Knesset by MK's Shaked, Levin and Ilatov (Private 1550/19), and by MK Ze'ev Elkin (Private 2502/19); and before the twentieth Knesset by MK Sharon Gal and a group of other MK's (Private/1320/20).