SWP Comment – (Berlin) – Peter Lintl, Stefan Wolfrum – Oktober 2018
Israel’s Nation-State Law – Netanyahu Government Lays the Foundations for a Majoritarian System
On 19 July 2018, the Israeli parliament passed legislation known as the nation-state law. It is highly controversial in Israel as well as internationally, although strictly speaking there is little new contained in it. Its advocates emphasise that it merely gives expression to existing realities. Critics argue that the law discriminates against minorities, runs counter to democratic values and, in particular, undermines the principle of equality. The debate reveals the social tension in Israel between its ‘Jewish’ and ‘democratic’ identity. In addition, it becomes clear that the main supporters of the law on the government side have more far-reaching intentions than its wording suggests. Their aim is to place Jewish collective rights above individual rights and freedoms. The law is, therefore, also a manifestation of current government policy aimed at leading Israel away from a more liberal democracy and towards a majoritarian democracy. In particular, this policy affects the Supreme Court as a defender of liberal principles.