Israel’s cabinet has approved legislation to officially define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This timely measure accomplishes several important goals. It will facilitate peace by encouraging the Arab world to accept Israel’s permanence. It will help forge a sense of unity among the famously diverse and contentious Israeli public. And it will not in any way infringe on the rights of Israel’s Arab citizens and other minorities.
That is why formally defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people will send an important message to the Arab world that Israel, the Jewish state, is here to stay. If and when the Arabs finally accept this reality, peace will be possible.
Israel, after all, was not created in order to be a purely secular Western state. It has uniquely Jewish features, and most of its citizens want it that way. The Jewish Sabbath is the official day of rest. The national language is Hebrew. The national culture is permeated with Jewish symbols, history, and memories. An official definition of Israel as a Jewish state is the natural corollary of this national consensus. It will help bind Israel’s people together in a sense of kinship, fraternity, and common national purpose. More