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

1. Basic Principles
(a) The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which they realize their aspiration for self-determination in accordance with their cultural and historical heritage.
(b) The right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is uniquely that of the Jewish people.
(c) This Basic Law, and all other laws, shall be interpreted in conformity with this provision.
2. Purpose
The purpose of this Basic Law is to safeguard Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people, by order to anchoring in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in the spirit of the principles of its Declaration of Independence.
3. State Symbols
(a) The state’s national anthem is Hatikvah.
(b) The state’s flag is white, with two blue stripes along its top and bottom margins, and a blue Star of David at its center.
(c) The state’s emblem is a seven-branched menorah, with olive branches on both sides, and the word “Israel” beneath it.
4. State Capital
Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
5. Language
(a) Hebrew is the state’s language.
(b) The Arabic language has special status in the State. Those who speak Arabic shall be offered access to State services in their own language, as will be determined by the law.
6. Return
Every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel and to obtain citizenship in accordance with the provisions of law.
7. Ingathering of the Exiles
The State will act to ingather the exiles of Israel.
8. The Connection to the Jewish People in the Diaspora
(a) The State will act to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Jewish communities of the Diaspora.
(b) The State shall act to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Jewish people among the Jews in the Diaspora.
(c) The State will extend a helping hand to members of the Jewish people who are in distress or in captivity on account of their being Jews.
9. Preservation of Culture, Heritage and Identity
(a) All residents of Israel, regardless of their religion or nationality, are entitled to the right to strive for the preservation of their culture, heritage, language, and identity.
(b) The State may permit a community, including members of a same religion or members of a common nationality, to maintain a separate communal settlement.
10. Official Calendar
The Hebrew Calendar is the official state calendar.
11. Independence Day and Memorial days
(a) Independence Day is the national holiday of the State.
(b) The Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Holocaust Memorial Day are official state memorial days.
12. Days of Rest
The designated days of rest in the State of Israel are the Sabbath and the Jewish Holidays. Workers shall not be employed and they shall not work on these days of rest, except under conditions determined by law. Individuals belonging to ethnic groups that are recognized by law are entitled to refrain from work on their holidays.
13. Jewish Civil Law
Should the court encounter a dispute that cannot be resolved by an existing statute, judicial precedent, or by strict legal analogy, it shall render its decision in accordance with the principles of freedom, justice, equality, and peace derived from Jewish heritage.
14. Preservation of Holy Sites
The holy sites shall be protected from desecration and any other type of harm or damage, and from anything that would interfere with the freedom of access of religious groups to places holy to them or to their sensitivities regarding said holy sites.
15. Immutability
This Basic Law shall not be amended, except by another Basic Law, passed a required majority of the Knesset.

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).