Readings on Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine
Structures of Identity, Difference and Democracy
A Curriculum from the Open University Project at Columbia University
Exploring the Israeli concept of citizenship offers a particularly interesting way to understand the contours of belonging, dispossession, equality and discrimination in the context of Israel/Palestine. This is especially true as the Israeli Knesset considers a “Nationality” bill that would significantly alter what it means to be an Israeli citizen.
This curriculum provides a set of readings, guided questions, and references for students interested in digging deeper into the political and human rights implications of i) the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, also referred to by Palestinians as the “catastrophe” or “nakba;” ii) Zionism (in its political, national, and racial conceptions); and iii) the competing claims to both dispossession and belonging that are at stake in Israel/Palestine.
The curriculum is divided into three sessions with readings and discussion questions for each session.
Session 1: Nationality vs. Citizenship in the Israeli/Palestinian Context
The state of Israel was founded in 1948 with a vision that it be “the sovereign state of the Jewish people,” and “the creation of the entire Jewish people.” Unlike in the U.S. and other contexts, Israeli law maintains a crucial distinction between the categories of nationality (le’om) and citizenship (ezrahut).
Key to the notions of belonging, returning, and remaining in the land that became the state of Israel in 1948 is the question of who is a Jew? According to Jewish law, a child born to a Jewish mother or an adult who has converted to Judaism is considered a Jew; one does not have to reaffirm their Jewishness or practice any of the laws of the Torah to be Jewish. According to Reform Judaism, a person is a Jew if they were born to either a Jewish mother or a Jewish father. Israeli law states that only persons born to a Jewish mother or who have converted to Judaism are considered Jewish for the purposes of Jewish/Israeli citizenship, an identity particularly relevant to the the Law of Return, discussed below.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, issued by the British Foreign Secretary at the end of World War I, expressed the British government’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Similarly, the Zionist Organization prepared a proposal for the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, in which it suggested that the key actors shaping the post-World War I world order “recognize the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.” The early reference to settlement in Palestine as part of the creation of a “national home” was widely understood as a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of creating of a Jewish state.
Thus, from early on Zionists understood Israel to be a “national home for the Jewish people” more than a new state in which Jews would form a majority of Israeli national citizens. Thus we see the tension inherent in the commitment to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.”
Read: Ernst Frankenstein, “The Meaning of the Term ‘National Home for the Jewish People,’” Jewish Yearbook of International Law 27 (1948). Focus on pp. 27-33 and 39-41.
The call for the creation of a new state – described variously as the ethnic, cultural, and/or religious home for the Jewish people – coming at the end of a war waged to defeat brutal forms of German ethno-nationalism struck some as a valid form of national self-determination in keeping with President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, while others viewed it as contrary to a rising global commitment to democratic liberalism. U.S. legal scholar Morris Cohen expressed some skepticism with respect to the wisdom of Jewish ethno-nationalism in The New Republic in 1919:
How could a Jewish Palestine allow complete religious freedom, freedom of inter-marriage and free non-Jewish immigration, without soon losing its very reason for existence? A national Jewish Palestine must necessarily mean a state founded on a particular race, a tribal religion and a mystic belief in a particular soil, whereas liberal American stands for separation of church and state, the free mixing of races, and that men can change their habitation and language and still advance the process of civilization … Zionists are quite willing to ignore the rights of the vast majority of the non-Jewish population of Palestine … Whether tribalism triumphs or not, it is none the less evil, and thinking men should reject it as such.
The implications of this distinction in the Israeli context between nationality (le’om) and citizenship (ezrahut) are multiple and significant:
- The General Assembly of the United Nations, in Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, divided the territory of Palestine as follows:
- A Jewish State covering 56,47% of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem) with a population of 498,000 Jews and 325,000 Arabs;
- An Arab State covering 43.53% of Palestine, with 807,000 Arab inhabitants and 10,000 Jewish inhabitants;
- An international trusteeship regime in Jerusalem, where the population was 100,000 Jews and 105,000 Arabs.
- The state of Israel was created to protect the sovereignty of the “nation of Jews.”
- UN Resolution 181 anticipated the creation of an Arab-Palestinian state that would protect the sovereignty of the “nation of Palestinians.”
- At the end of the 1948 War, when the state of Israel was founded in a territory larger than that outlined by the UN’s Resolution 181, 150,000 Arab-Palestinians remained in Israel within the Green Line and became citizens of Israel. Today Arab-Palestinians comprise a substantial minority (around 20%) of the citizens of Israel and consider themselves to have Palestinian nationality.
- After 1948, the majority of Palestinian people, those who did not become citizens of Israel, settled in the other parts of Mandatory Palestine, including the West Bank, which became part of Jordan, and the Gaza Strip, which came under Egypt's control. Others fled or were expelled from the territory that became Israel and ended up in refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Transjordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Thus, the founding of Israel rendered the Palestinians a stateless people who retained a sense of national identity, but were dispersed across a broad range of jurisdictions – mirroring in a tragic way the status of the Jewish people prior to the founding of the state of Israel.
- One must be, of course, Jewish to be part of the “nation of Jews,” while being Jewish is not a requirement of Israeli citizenship.
- The “nation of Jews” includes all Jews both living in Israel and in the larger diaspora. Thus, the people who can make a claim to the identity of “Jewish national” extends well beyond the Jewish people residing in the territorial state of Israel. In the words of the Israeli Supreme Court: “There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish People. The Jewish People is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewry.”
- There is no such thing as “Israeli nationality.” In fact, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that recognizing “Israeli nationality” would create a schism between the Jewish people, making them choose between their Jewish identity and their Israeli identity. “[T]he principle of self-determination should, in its view, apply to peoples and not to ‘shreds of peoples’ …” The Israeli Supreme Court quoted a lower court’s reasoning: “One cannot belong to two nationalities. If an Israeli nationality is recognized, members of the Jewish nationality in Israel will have to choose between the two: Are they Israelis, in which case they would not be Jewish; or are they Jewish, in which case they would not be Israeli; the same would apply to members of minority groups [in Israel]. Recognition of such nationality may bring about the national and social disintegration of the entire nation … A separatist trend of splitting the Jewish nations must not be accepted.”
- Under the Israeli Population Registry Law, identity cards are issued to all Israeli citizens. Until recently, Israeli-Jews were classified as Israeli citizens with “Jewish nationality,” Israeli-Arabs were classified as Israeli citizens with “Arab nationality,” and Israeli-Druze were classified as Israeli citizens with “Druze nationality.” One could not indicate “Israeli” as one’s nationality on one’s identity card.
- What does it meant that Israel is a “Jewish state”? In an Israeli Supreme Court case from 2003 Chief Justice Aharon Barak explained that at the center of the Jewish characteristics
stands the right of every Jew to make aliya [to immigrate as a Jew] to the State of Israel, that in Israel Jews will be a majority, Hebrew will be the main official language of the state, and its main holidays and symbols reflect the national emergence of the Jewish people, the heritage of Israel is a central component of the state’s religious and cultural heritage.
Questions for Session 1 on the distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality” in the Israeli context
- What does it mean that Israel is a “Jewish and democratic state”? Is this merely a descriptive claim, meaning that the majority of its citizens are Jewish? Or does it imply something deeper insofar as Israel was founded as “the sovereign state of the Jewish people”? Perhaps this deeper meaning implicates only the laws of return and citizenship, granting Jews special rights to citizenship that are denied to all others, including the indigenous Palestinian population. Or does the “Jewish nature” of the state include other forms of preferential treatment for Jews (such as land ownership, voting, and other social and political rights)? In what way is the state of Israel a political tool that “belongs” to Jews both within Israel and in the larger global diaspora? “Israel is defined, internationally … and internally ... as the Jewish people’s nation state.” Is there a point at which the uniquely Jewish character of the state of Israel undermines its identity as a democratic state?
- What are the implications of the state assigning every citizen an “ethno-religious” label or identity, whether or not they identify with it? Would a similar system in the U.S. trouble you – whereby the government issued ID cards on which you were required to check a box indicating an ethno-religious nationality (African-American, Mexican-American, Jewish-American, Arab-American, Euro-American). The census does something similar in the U.S. but official identification cards, such as a driver’s license or passport, do not. Is Israel different, or sufficiently different from the U.S. context, to render such a designation legitimate?
- In what ways might principles of democracy be undermined by a legal system that includes/recognizes its minority civilly but not nationally? That is, does the idea of democracy require a state to be committed to a unified or singular notion of nationality, or that it be at least neutral as to diverse nationalities within the state, and therefore must play no part in ratifying or reifying national differences? If not, why not?
- In what ways might it matter that the minority Palestinians in Israel are not immigrants (as were most members of the majority at the founding) but are rather an indigenous population? Are there parallels to the treatment of Native Americans by European settlers in the U.S.?
- Does the “Jewish nature” of Israel raise problems apart from the fissures that have been created between Jewish and non-Jewish Israeli citizens? Even within the Jewish community in Israel there are significant differences between religious and secular Jews, between orthodox and reformed Jews, and between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews. Might some Jewish Israeli citizens find it in their interests to better enfranchise non-Jewish citizens?
- Article 15 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights sets forth that:
- Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Is there an argument that the Israeli Population Registry Law might violate this provision of the UN Declaration of Human Rights?
Do the opinions in the case inform or change your answers to the above questions?
National Belonging In the Palestinian Context:
In 1964 the Arab League initiated the creation of an organisation representing the Palestinian people and defending their interests, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which then created the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO. In the aftermath of the 1967 war with Israel, the PNC adopted the Palestinian National Charter (1968), a document that clearly articulated a Palestinian notion of sovereignty and national identity. Relevant parts of the Charter include:
- Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.
- Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
- Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.
- Article 4: The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people, through the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their Palestinian identity and their membership in the Palestinian community, nor do they negate them.
- Article 5: The Palestinians are the Arab citizens who were living permanently in Palestine until 1947, whether they were expelled or remained there. Whoever is born to a Palestinian father after that date, within Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.
- Article 6: The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.
- Araticle 11: The Palestinians will have three mottoes: National unity mobilization and liberation.
Session 2: Further Implications of Israel being a Jewish State
The Israeli Declaration of Independence grounds the idea of the new Israeli state in, among other things, a principle of equality:
The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Israel does not have a constitution. Instead its foundational body of law is contained in its Basic Law. The Basic Law assures dignity and liberty for its citizens but not, however, equality or equal treatment to all Israeli citizens. In important ways, the declaration of Israel as the “national homeland of the Jews” creates legal preferences enjoyed by Jews over non-Jews both inside and outside Israel. Indeed, in significant respects Jewish non-citizens of Israel (i.e. Jews in the diaspora) can claim rights within Israel that are not available to non-Jewish citizens of Israel (i.e. Palestinians Israeli citizens). This is one of the ways in which Jewish nationality takes precedent over Israeli citizenship.
Examples of preferences given to Jewish nationals over non-Jewish citizens include:
- Law of Return - The Law of Return of 1950, the Nationality Law of 1952, and the Entry into Israel Law of 1952 establish the right of all Jews and their family members worldwide to immigrate, or return, to Israeli and to immediately become Israeli citizens. Non-Jews are not afforded similar immigration or citizenship rights even if they had previously lived in Palestine. In fact, Israeli law and policy is designed to ensure the non-return of Palestinian refugees living in the diaspora.  A close reading of these laws reveals that the 1950 Law of Return treats every Jew worldwide as having “returned,” including those in Israel/Palestine who were born in Israel and never left. By contrast, the law treats Palestinians in the diaspora who were exiled in 1948 or later as “never present.” As some scholars summarize it: “if you’re a Jew who has never left you still have “returned” under the law and if you leave you have never left. Palestinians, by contrast, are locked in a legal identity as “absentee” – even if they are actually “present” in Israel.”
- Transferability of Israeli Citizenship - Israeli citizenship is not automatically transferrable if one is not a “Jewish national.” That is, Israeli citizenship is automatically passed to the spouse of a Jewish Israeli, but not for non-Jewish Israelis. They may petition to have their spouse gain citizenship but these petitions are rarely granted. The 2003 Nationality and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset and it prohibits the granting of any residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) who are married to Israeli citizens (amended in 2007 to include citizens of “enemy states” Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon). Palestinian citizens of Israel who marry a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip or the West Bank are faced with two options: Either leave Israel and go to the place of one’s spouse, or leave one’s spouse in order to stay in Israel. The Law affects thousands of families comprised of tens of thousands of individuals. The Israeli press described the law as part of a larger campaign on the part of the Israeli government to “make it more difficult for non-Jews to receive Israeli citizenship or permanent resident status in Israel”, a move “aimed against granting legal status to Palestinians and other foreigners who have married Israeli citizens,” and “based on the demographic consideration of ensuring a solid Jewish majority.” The Chairman of the Israeli National Security Council explained the need for the law: “the growth in the size of the Arab minority would lead to increased demands on its part for national rights and more pressure to turn Israel into ‘a bi-national state’ or ‘a state of all its citizens.’” The Israeli Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012.
Read the Israeli Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Aadel Kaadan v. Israel Lands Administration.
As you read this opinion from the Israeli Supreme Court, consider the ways in which certain claims to belonging, to ownership of land, to citizenship, and to equality are privileged while others are ignored or silenced.
- How does the Court treat “citizenship” differently from “nationality”? What work does that distinction do?
- From where in the Israeli Basic Law does the Court find a fundamental right to equality? (The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (s. 1), see the decision at ¶ 31.)
- What work do notions of Zionism and security do for the arguments made by the state or the Court in this case?
- What do you think of the Court’s appeal to U.S. history and legal decisions concerning racial segregation? In what ways are they relevant to the Israeli/Palestinian circumstance? What do you think about an appeal to the idea that racial/ethnic/religious/national origin segregation create an “affective injury” (hurt feelings)? Is preservation of Palestinian “culture and lifestyle” what is at stake in this case?
- Are there other arguments that derive from the context of Israel/Palestine that might also address the injustice of denying Arab-Israeli citizens access to land in Israel?
- The Court frames the issue as one of a "suspect" classification based upon national origin. What do you think of the framing of “Arab Israeli citizens” as a “national origin” or “religion” -based class?
- The Court distances itself from U.S. Supreme Court law by noting that: “I am prepared to assume -- without ruling on the matter -- that there are situations in which treatment that is separate but equal is lawful.” What do you think of the example the Court provides to illustrate this idea? What do you think of this principle of “positive discrimination”?
- What work does the idea of collective historical injury do to justify the Court’s ruling? Does this invocation of historical injury serve to erase or ignore other historical injuries? How might you rewrite the opinion so as to acknowledge the historical injuries to both Jews in Europe and Palestinians in Palestine (the Nakba)?
- The Court is clear that the principle of “Israel as a Jewish state” does not conflict with its parallel commitment to equality (“to the extent that this claim comes to say that the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish State conflict with the principle of equality, the answer is that such a conflict does not exist.”). Do you agree? Is this position in conflict with the idea that Israel is a democratic state? If so, how so? If not, how not?
- The Court frames the “Law of Return” as “a special key to enter,” but then notes that “once a person has lawfully entered the home, he enjoys equal rights with all other household members.” Is this a persuasive argument in the service of the claim that there is “no contradiction between the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and between the absolute equality of all of its citizens”?
- The Court treats the issue as one in which the State is allocating “state land” or “its land” or “national land” via entities such as the Jewish Agency for Israel. How might you press on this framing of the idea of “allocation” and of whose land it is to allocate? How might a reframing shift the discrimination claim at the center of the lawsuit?
Take a look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 and 1955 decisions in Brown v. Board of Education (the school desegregation cases). Notice that in the first Brown opinion the Supreme Court did not order a remedy, they waited to do so until a year later in the second Brown opinion.
- How “do facts on the ground” in the Kaadan opinion influence the remedy the Court was willing to order? (Noting as well that “facts on the ground” influenced the remedy the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education was willing to order.) Note the term “appropriate speed” in the Kaadan opinion and compare it to the U.S. Supreme Court’s use of the term “all deliberate speed” in Brown II.
Session 3: The Proposed “Nationality” Legislation Changing Israel’s Basic Law “to define the character of Israel as the national State of the Jewish People”
New legislation has been introduced by the right-wing MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) party that would amend Israel’s Basic Law in ways that would:
- define the character of Israel as the national State of the Jewish People;
- establish Hebrew as the only official language of the state of Israel (under current law Hebrew and Arabic are official languages of the state and English enjoys non-official status as well. Most state signage in Israel is in Hebrew, Arabic and English);
- allow the state to “permit a community, including the members of a single religion or the members of a single nationality, to establish separate community settlements;”
- require the State to act… “for Jewish settlement within its boundaries, and shall allot resources for these purposes.”
- declares that “the Land of Israel,” or as it is called in Hebrew “Eretz Yesrael” (a nebulously defined area which for some includes the area of Palestine (pre-1948), and for others includes parts of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt as well) “is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and the locus of the constitution of the State of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Justice Minister Tzipi Livni proposed more tempered versions of the bill.
This proposed legislation formalizes the definition of Israel as the home of the Jewish people by building this notion into the Basic Law. Until now this idea has featured as part of Israel’s founding social and political history but not a part of its formal, legal structure. The bill’s proponents argue that the change is needed as a response to the growing possibility that non-Jews may outnumber Jewish citizens of Israel. Critics of the law warn that the law would elevate a commitment to Jewish nationalism over democratic principles, thus marginalizing non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
Note that the proposed legislation anchors the changes in the Israeli Declaration of Independence, yet the Declaration contains the word “Jewish” 20 times without mentioning “democracy” once.
- The proposals declare that the “right of National Self Determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People.” What implications might this have for non-Jewish minorities in Israel? Can non-Jews in Israel argue that this provision in the proposed law illegitimately denies their right to self-determination? What would that argument look like? Can the “right of return” for diasporic Jews to Israel be understood as a key aspect of Jewish self-determination? If so, why aren’t Palestinians in the diaspora entitled to a similar right of return? Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) sets forth that:
In those States in which ethnic, religious or lingual minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
Does the proposal’s language “right of National Self Determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People” run afoul of Article 27 of the ICCPR?
- Two of the proposals set out that Israel is “a democratic regime” that would “be based on the principles of freedom, justice and peace in light of the vision of the Prophets of Israel, and committed to the individual rights of all its citizens as specified by any law.” Consider the following questions about this proposed language:
How might a “democratic regime” be different from a “democratic state”?
What does it mean to anchor principles of “freedom, justice and peace” in “the vision of the Prophets of Israel”? The “Prophets of Israel” knew nothing of the constraints on and values of modern democracies, so in what way does this conception of a “democratic regime” make sense? Is this principle so vague as to be meaningless?
The proposal commits the state to “the individual rights of all its citizens.” Would collective language, cultural and religious rights – particularly of minorities – be sufficiently protected by a commitment to individual rights?
The “individual rights of all [Israeli] citizens” are to be “specified by any law.” Does limiting personal rights to those “specified by any law,” risk rendering the clause effectively useless when the “law” itself is discriminatory?
The proposed law assures that “each resident of Israel, without regard to his religion or nationality, shall be entitled to strive for the preservation of his culture, heritage, language and identity.” Sounds good. Can you foresee any concerns with this phrasing? Does it risk privatizing what has been heretofore a public/state responsibility to recognize the multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-linguistic makeup of Israeli culture and population? Or worse, if the proposal renders the preservation and protection of Jewish culture, heritage, language and identity as an official state project, what does it mean to leave the preservation all other non-Jewish culture, heritage, language and identity as something residents are entitled to “strive for”? Israeli courts have required the state to set up bilingual signage in mixed cities, to provide adequate funding for Muslim religious institutions and education. Does this language risk eliminating that public responsibility
Two of the proposals set out that Israel is “a democratic regime” that would “be based on the principles of freedom, justice and peace in light of the vision of the Prophets of Israel, and committed to the individual rights of all its citizens as specified by any law.” Consider the following questions about this proposed language:
- How might a “democratic regime” be different from a “democratic state”?
- What does it mean to anchor principles of “freedom, justice and peace” in “the vision of the Prophets of Israel”? The “Prophets of Israel” knew nothing of the constraints on and values of modern democracies, so in what way does this conception of a “democratic regime” make sense? Is this principle so vague as to be meaningless?
- The proposal commits the state to “the individual rights of all its citizens.” Would collective language, cultural and religious rights – particularly of minorities – be sufficiently protected by a commitment to individual rights?
- The “individual rights of all [Israeli] citizens” are to be “specified by any law.” Does limiting personal rights to those “specified by any law,” risk rendering the clause effectively useless when the “law” itself is discriminatory.
- The law’s core aim in declaring Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People would result in the state officially associating itself with only some members of its citizenry, including with respect to heritage, symbols, holidays, and the role that Hebrew law plays in interpreting legislation. What might be the implications of having the state officially associate itself with only some members of its citizenry?
- The proposals reference the Declaration of Independence yet none of them require that Israel’s Basic Law expressly recognizes equality as a right and fundamental value of the state in the same way that it is recognized in the Declaration of Independence. Is there anything to make of this omission?
- Do the proposed changes contained in the “Nationality Law” risk amplifying the distinction between nationality and citizenship in Israel in ways that may further marginalize non-Jewish citizens and/or Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza?
- Finally, do you agree with the bills’ critics that they elevate Israel’s identity as a “Jewish state” over its identity as a “democratic state”? Do these bills merely surface an underlying impossibility that lurks in the tension between democratic values and the entho-nationalism of political Zionism? Do these measures merely ratify explicitly what has been an implicit fact, that Israel is and has been a “Jewish state”?
- Some commentators view the new law as merely reiterating and consolidating Zionist values and rules that are already well-entrenched in existing Israeli law: “Ultimately, the result of this bill would be the unification of many principles that are already law in Israel under one Basic Law. The repetition and emphasis sound shocking for those unfamiliar with Israeli law, but the bill only clarifies what is already in place and its tone reflects the current situation. Instead of looking at individual trees one by one, the observer now sees the whole forest and its very dark shadow …” If this is right, might there be an argument that it is in the interests of parties devoted to the notion that Israel is a “Jewish state” to leave well enough alone? That is, that the “Nationality Law” risks drawing critical international attention to a state of affairs that is best maintained piecemeal rather than in one omnibus amendment to the Basic Law?
 So claimed David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first president. See Ariel Feldestein, Ben-Gurion, Zionism and American Jewry: 1948 – 1963 (Routledge: New York, 2007) p. 126.
 Take, for instance, the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The Pledge reflects the notion in the U.S. context that citizenship in the U.S. and membership in the Nation are coextensive, as is membership in the “Republic.”
 A meeting among the victors/allies immediately following the end of World War I at which they set the terms of a new world order that included the break up of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of European controlled mandate system in the former Arab provinces, including Palestine.
 Ernst Frankenstein’s article explains how other political actors, such as the British politicians responsible for drafting the Balfour Declaration, may have held the view that the transition of a “Jewish home” to a “Jewish state” would reflect the fact of majority population of Jews and little more. See Frankenstein, “The Meaning of the Term ‘National Home for the Jewish People,’” at p. 36.
 These twin identities conjoined to one another first appeared in the Israeli law in 1992:
1. The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. (Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (1992))
2. The purpose of this Basic Law if to protect freedom of occupation, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. (Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994))
 “We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secure once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression.” President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, 8 January, 1918.
 Morris R. Cohen, “Zionism: Tribalism or Liberalism?,” The New Republic, vol. 18 p. 182 (March 8, 1919).
 The Green Line is a term used to describe the borders established by the Armistice Agreements of 1949.
 For more on the fate of the Palestinians during this period see Baruch Kimmerling & Joel S. Migdal, Palestinians: The Making Of A People 127-56 (1993).
 See Oscar Kraines, The Impossible Dilemma: Who Is a Jew in the State of Israel? (Bloch Publishing Company, 1976).
 Tamarin v. State of Israel, C.A. 630/70 (1972); “Atheist Is Refused Listing As Israeli Instead of Jew,” New York Times, January 21, 1972; see discussion in John Quigley, The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective (Duke University Press: Durham, 2005) p. 129.
 Tamarin v. State of Israel, C.A. 630/70 (1972) and see summary in the New York Times.
 Uzzi Ornan et al. v. State of Israel, 8573/08, 2 October 2013. The judgment is available here; excerpts in English are available here.
 Tamarin v. State of Israel, C.A. 630/70 (1972)(Tamarin, an Jewish citizen of Israel requested that his nationality on his Israeli registration identification card be changed from ‘Jewish’ to ‘Israeli’. The Israeli Ministry of Interior denied his request. He appealed to the Israeli courts and ultimately took his case to the Supreme Court of Israel, which supported the decision of the Ministry of the Interior.). Israeli ID cards no longer explicitly list nationality as a field so the remedy the petitioners sought wasn’t about the identity card exactly. Of course there are still clues that give nationality away – aside from a person’s name, Jews have birthdates listed in the Jewish calendar, and for non-Jews only the paternal grandfather’s name is given.
 Central Elections Committee for the Sixteenth Knesset v Tibi, EC 11280/02 (2003).
 Unlike most industrialized countries, which have widespread private land ownership and a free real estate market, in Israel the state controls 93 % of the land (80% is owned by the state and 13% by the Jewish National Fund). According to Israel's Basic Law: Israel Lands (1960), lands controlled by the state, the Development Authority and the Jewish National Fund are known as "Israel Lands." The JNF was founded in 1901 by the World Zionist Congress as “the custodian of the land for the Jewish people.” After the founding of Israel in 1948 and land previously owned by Palestinians was seized by the state and “[t]he JNF purchased the land from the state starting in 1949 and early 1950. Then prime minister David Ben-Gurion initiated the sale of land to the JNF to prevent any possibility of international pressure forcing Israel to restore it to the Palestinian refugees.” Amiram Barkat “Buying the State of Israel,” Haaretz, February 10, 2005. The land is leased in 49-98 year installments from the Israel Land Authority. See the Israel Land Authorities’ website, and the JNF’s website. For a history of the JNF, see Walter Lehn, “The Jewish National Fund,” Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 3, no. 4 (1974).
 “The mission of gathering in the exiles, which is the central task of the State of Israel and the Zionist Movement in our days, requires constant efforts by the Jewish people in the Diaspora; the State of Israel, therefore, expects the cooperation of all Jews, as individuals and groups, in building up the State and assisting the immigration to it of the masses of the people, and regards the unity of all sections of Jewry as necessary for this purpose.” World Zionist Organization - Jewish Agency (Status) Law Sec. 5 (1952).
 Opinion of Judge H. Meltzer, Uzzi Ornan et al. v. State of Israel, 8573/08, 2 October 2013, p. 7.
 For a discussion of the difference between “homeland” and “immigrant” ethnic minorities see Oren Yftachel, “The Ethnic Democracy Model and Its Applicability to the Case of Israel,” 15 Ethnic & Racial Studies, 125 (1992). The Israeli Supreme Court has recognized this distinction and granted Palestinians special protections over other ethnic minorities in Israel. See opinion of Chief Justice Barak in Adalah v. The Municipality of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, 56(5) P.D. at 393, para. 25.
 For more on this tension see Sammy Smooha, “Class, Ethnic, and National Cleavages and Democracy in Israel,” in Israeli Democracy Under Stress (Ehud Sprinzak & Larry Diamond eds., 1993) pp. 316-25.
 The judgment is available here; excerpts in English are available here.
 The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (1948)(emphasis added). The Declaration states fundamental and important principles that framed the founding of the state of Israel, yet none of the terms of the Declaration create enforceable rights.
 See Ilan Sabin, “Minority Rights In Deeply Divided Societies: A Framework For Analysis And The Case Of The Arab-Palestinian Minority In Israel,” 36 New York University Journal of Int'l Law & Politics, 885 (2004) at 962, n. 300.
 Links to the text of the law in English including amendments in 2005 and 2007 are available here.
 See Sabin, “Minority Rights In Deeply Divided Societies,” at 962.
 The opinion and analysis are available here.
 See Adalah v. The Municipality of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, 56(5) P.D. at 393, paras. 24-25 (Barak, C.J.), case in which Adalah, a civil rights organization that defends the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, sought an order requiring the state to post street signs in Hebrew and Arabic. The majority of the justices found comprehensive protection for the language of the national minority in Israel as derived also from the basic values of Israel and the basic right to human dignity.
 “This statement is generally in line with the Zionist consensus which distinguishes between the ‘Land of Israel’ and the territory of the state of Israel: while Jews according to the Zionist vision are entitled to self-determination in the whole area of ‘the Land of Israel’, liberal Zionist are willing to make territorial compromises (more or less along the 1967 line) for the sake of political stability and in order to maintain a Jewish majority.” Mazen Masri, “Israel’s ‘Jewish State’ Bill: Does it Really Change Anything?,” Jadaliyya, January 8, 2015.
 Note that current Israeli law states that:
No list of candidates will participate in elections to the Knesset and no individual will be a candidate for elections to the Knesset, if among the goals or acts of the list or among the acts of the person is included, as might be the case, explicitly or implicitly, any one of the following:
(1) Denial of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
(2) Incitement to racism;
(3) Support for an armed struggle, of a hostile state or a terror organization, against the State of Israel.
Section 7A of Basic Law.
And the Israeli Knesset’s internal rules stipulate that:
The chairperson of the Knesset and the deputies will not approve a bill that is, in their opinion, racist in nature or denies the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
Section 134(c) of the Knesset Regulations 1962, Y.P. 590.
See Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, 26-30 (1995).
 See also Frances Raday, “Self-Determination and Minority Rights,” 26 Fordham International Law Journal 453 (2003).
 See Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 26, 110-11 (1995).
 “The State shall act to preserve the cultural and historic heritage and tradition of the Jewish people, and to cultivate and foster them in Israel and the Diaspora.”