[[A Jewish friend of mine, a close friend, who is the dialoguing face of Israel, all quite officially, he often saving the day when, during the visits of Popes, those popes were attacked with Islamicist violence, he who is the consummate insider, string puller, the power in the background, answered my request for a comment on the newly ratified Basic Law of Israel as The Nation State of the Jewish People by saying that “It’s unnecessary.”
That’s it, ambiguous as to whether such an assertion is for or against the ratification of the law. It’s something you just repeat with disgust or delight depending on your interlocutor no matter what the pushing for more information happens to be. Convenient.
What “It’s unnecessary” does assert is that what the new Basic Law manifests is what is and has been and will be the state of affairs in this region of the Near East for a very long time, just not in print thus far. It changes absolutely nothing of the reality of the situation regardless of what actually has been in print up to this time. For all these reasons it is very useful indeed for instruction for the rest of the world. While there certainly was a flurry about all this in the Jewish world and among Arab countries, very little commentary hit the news, say, in these U.S.A. Things are said in the Basic Law which change everything inasmuch as the reality has finally been put in print. This draws a line in the sand as nothing else, for it frankly says that it’s all in the sand, and is erased just that quickly so as to morph to the changes it envisions as happening forthwith.]]
Basic Law: Israel – The nation state of the Jewish people
1. The State of Israel
a) Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people in which the State of Israel was established. [[But “homeland” borders have never been accepted by the Knesset in favor of ever-expanding temporary borders. Deals made with Egypt and others more recently are not about borders, but about contracts: land for peace. That can be judged to be a broken contract broken on the other side at any time, right? Anyway, what we’re talking about here is “historic”; thus, we recall the borders, say, in the time of the partitioning of the land to the tribes, and then in the time of David and Solomon, much, much more expansive than anything today. Here’s just one snapshot in history (there are many):]]
b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination. [[Historic right? O.K., but in which year in history? It makes a difference. Is there a natural right of conquest from Ur of the Chaldeans (the Babylonians). That would be a blasphemous rejection of the supernatural calling of Abram by God himself. The assertion of a natural right makes God’s calling of Abram redundant, stupid. Mere natural right of conquest makes it a right to kill everyone else in conquest just to do it, a monstrous ideology of power for the sake of power. The reference to “religious” might have something to say about that, from the time of Abram’s call from God onward, throughout what the Israelis call the BCE times (Before the Common Era, meaning Before the Era of Christ). And that’s fine. A religious conquest directed by God as they are to be the chosen people whose history is to be a pedagogy for others and for themselves as they themselves know also with their own eventual dispersion of the north and the exile of the south. But Abraham is not the Messiah, the Savior, the prophesy of whose coming pre-dates Abraham all the way back to Genesis 3:15. That divine King of kings is to be Jewish, yes, but He will be the redeemer of all of Adam’s sons. His arrival changes everything. Suffice it to say here that this paragraph of the Basic Law, 5.b, needs some tweaking. Sometimes punctuation and an extra word here or there can work wonders regarding clarity and purpose. Cannot Catholics, for instance, who believe that the Jewish Messiah said that Salvation comes from the Jews, be Israeli citizens?]]
c) The fulfillment of the right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people. [[On face value, this is a rejection of interference from, say, the United Nations. But it also denies full citizenship status to non-Jews, even if they have that status up to this time. My question is this: If a Jewish citizen of Israel becomes Catholic does he lose his voice in the public square? The Basic Law could have said “citizens”, but instead it says “Jewish people”, which, as I understand, may rule out a Jew who loves that Jesus was a good Jewish guy from back in the day. Anyway, if this is really just about rejecting interference of the United Nations, that’s all fine by me. This does need some tweaking, but I’m quite sure this was purposed phraseology. The ever present question is about one being Jewish because of faith, you know, like the non-Jewess who became a Jewess and indeed the grandmother of King David…]]
[[The above video, published just months before the publishing of this post, is an interesting historical artifact about the way things were at one time. But it’s not like this at all anymore. The promulgation of this Basic Law changes everything.]]
2. National symbols of the State of Israel
a) The name of the state is Israel. [[This is a name which points more to citizens being so because of the faith. Otherwise, we would be talking about Judah (via King David and Jerusalem). Interesting. Catholics should be allowed to be citizens because of faith. Meanwhile, say a Catholic priest had a mother, grandmother and great grandmother who were Jewish. Would he be disqualified from becoming a full Israeli citizen?]]
b) The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center. [[It’s interesting how very much this has to do with Jesus, the Son of David, a good Jew.]]
c) The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom. [[All of which is entirely acceptable and is to be praised by any Catholic.]]
d) The national anthem of the state is “Hatikvah”
[[Here’s the long history of the Hatikvah. ]]
[[Transliteration: Kol od baleivav penimah / Nefesh yehudi homiyah, / Ulfa’atey mizrah kadimah, / Ayin letsiyon tsofiyah; //// Od lo avdah tikvateinu, / Hatikvah bat shenot al payim, / Lihyot am hofshi be’artzeinu, / Eretz tziyon veyerushalayim.
Translation: As long as Jewish spirit / Yearns deep in the heart, / With eyes turned East, / Looking towards Zion. //// Our hope is not yet lost, / The hope of two millennia, / To be a free people in our land, / The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומייה
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
עין לציון צופיה.
עוד לא אבדה תקוותינו
התקווה בת שנות אלפיים
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
ארץ ציון וירושלים
e) [Further] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law. [[I would love to see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.]]
3. [The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
[[The borders of the city of Jerusalem, including the old city, can be made to be extensive, say, an eight mile radius whose center is the Temple Mount. Cairo-Giza to the South or Amman to the East or Damascus or Beirut to the North are all just as massive in extension. This is a matter of security. I wouldn’t complain about this at all. The claim of Islamicists over against Jerusalem is that the heretic Mohammad had a dream. That’s it. So, nothing.]]
4. The Language of the State of Israel
a) Hebrew is the language of the state. [[Countries do have a right to have a common language for security purposes. I like Hebrew. People say I have an Israeli accent when I speak Hebrew, not that I’m great at it, as I have few with whom to practice.]]
b) The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law. [[Regulation will be regulated by regulation… I like that. But, how about saying: “Regulation of the use of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be enforced.” “Facing them” refers to obligations or not regarding logistics when Arab speakers who don’t speak Hebrew are attempting to communicate with state institutions.]]
c) This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created. [[I dare anyone to figure this out. This is actually so convoluted that it cannot be known what this means, and this is, obviously, by design, so that any presumed status quo can be held to be fluid, so that, I guess, Arabic can be phased out. It is what it is. I don’t think it’s a big ask to have Arab speakers learn Hebrew as the languages, the roots of the words, the whole right to left thing, are very similar.]]
5. The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled.
[[So, being open to Jewish immigration is to be expected and doesn’t on its face exclude all others. And I don’t think for a second think that this is necessarily directed at Jewish over against non-Jewish immigration. It also and perhaps primarily refers to Jewish immigration over against, wait for it… Jewish immigration. Already some thirty years ago, when I lived in Israel and studied in the “West Bank”, I overheard conversations between young Israeli immigrants who were practicing a bit of one-up-man-ship by smashing down their fellow Jewish Israelis for not having already given up on their dual-citizenship, not already having gone into the Military (having been there only a short time), not already having been there as long as whoever other Israeli was with them. You would almost think that Israel was only for those Jews who had been there before other Jews. Don’t think that some Jews are not looked down upon by other Jews. The arguments about assistance to be given to some arrivals and perhaps not so much to others can be extremely heated. So, good! Make it a law: The state will be open to Jewish immigration (no matter the provenance of those Jews, no matter how long ago someone else has immigrated).
The second half of law number 5 is that the state will be open to the gathering of the exiled especially in adverse situations. This refers to Israeli funded military operations which seek to transfer entire Jewish populations of whatever increasingly adverse countries to Israel, such as we have already seen with the transfer of the entire Jewish population of Ethiopia to Israel, which was an entirely amazing operation. And if there is violent anti-Jewish sentiment in various countries, and this is all about safety, and people are willing, what could possibly be wrong with this? This is a great service to humanity, the defense of the vulnerable. When Russia because increasingly hostile, getting Russian Jews to Israel was also a priority. ]]
6. The Diaspora
a) The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship. [[This is not only wrought through diplomatic means, but also through intelligence and military means, also by special operators, effected in countries around the world, as is only right. Security is a top priority. Don’t mess with an Israeli! I would expect friends around the world would help with this. I would do whatever I could.]]
b) The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora. [[Well, I don’t like the language here. Maybe it’s just the miserable translation. I don’t know. But in common usage, the word “legacy” is used for that which is quaint, cute, nostalgic, but definitely useless, out of date. The word “legacy” enforces the idea that everything cultural, historical or religious among Jews is of course to be abandoned in life. Instead of saying “legacy of the Jewish people”, why not say “life of the Jewish people”?]]
7. The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.
[[Here we go. Just to be clear, basically, the Basic Law has just put the remaining land up for grabs regardless of any international or Israeli law whatsoever. This is about ethnic cleansing. This does not rule out bulldozing entire towns to rebuild as Israeli villages. Thus, to give you a shocking example, this law takes in, say, for example, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, so that its occupation and destruction is entirely within the bounds of the law and such action is to be encouraged and promoted by the State on behalf of settlers. I just wanted to put that in perspective for you. That’s what it means. This is a declaration of all out war with non-Jews, that is, not just with Muslims. But no one in the world is saying a peep about any of this. It is stunning. This confirms my interpretation of the borders of the city of Jerusalem that I gave above. I cannot agree with the sweeping nature of this law. I cannot agree with ethnic cleansing.]]
8. The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law. [[This seems to ready the construction of another Temple and the reintroduction of Temple sacrifices. I dread that this will bring with it much more human bloodshed than that of any animal sacrifices.]]
9. National Holidays
a) Independence Day is the official holiday of the state. [[Great.]]
b) The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state. [[Yes, perfect. I would even add other days and specific places of commemoration.]]
10. Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays. Details concerning these matters will be determined by law. [[Of course. Expected.]]
11. This Basic Law may not be altered except by a Basic Law that gained the approval of the majority of the Knesset members. [[I’m glad they had eleven laws here instead of ten! I’m just guessing that a Basic Law needs an ultra-super-majority. If not, the volatility would be more hurtful than helpful.]]
[[I should remind all what Saint Paul says of the Jews: “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the Law, the temple worship, and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them proceeds the human descent of Christ, who is God over all, forever worthy of praise! Amen.]]