Thursday, July 19, 2018

Israel Passes Watered-Down Version of Controversial Jewish Nation-State Bill

As reported by Haaretz, Israel's Knesset yesterday passed a watered-down version of the controversial Jewish Nation-State Bill (full text).  The Bill, passed as a Basic Law, will have quasi-constitutional status. The new law defines Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people."  A provision that originally was aimed at allowing the creation of Jewish-only communities in Israel was modified to read:
The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.
In a provision which apparently attempts to prevent government encouragement of Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism within Israel, the law provides:
The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people.
Among various other provisions, the bill establishes the Sabbath and Jewish festivals as days of rest in the country.