In Rare Rebuke, Jewish Federations Slam Israel's Nation-state Law as 'Step Back for All Minorities'

Major Israel fundraiser JFNA says 'disappointed' with controversial law, which stipulates that only Jews have right to self-determination in Israel

Druze and Israeli flags decorate a shrine in Kfar Zeitim, by the Sea of Galilee, northern Israel, April 25, 2018.
Ariel Schalit/AP

Rarely critical of the government of Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America issued a statement on Thursday taking issue with the highly controversial nation-state law.

The JFNA, which is a major fundraiser for Israel, joins other Jewish organizations and movements that have already voiced opposition to the basic law, which stipulates that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel. It also downgrades Arabic from an official language to one with “special status.”

The law has sparked a particularly strong backlash in the Druze community, whose members serve in the Israeli army.

>> 'When we’re in uniform they treat us well': Israel's Druze no longer feel like blood brothers

“Jewish Federations stand shoulder to shoulder with the Druze community and urge Israeli legislators to work with the community as soon as possible to address their very real concerns,” the JFNA statement said.

“As strong supporters of Israel, we were disappointed that the government passed legislation which was effectively a step back for all minorities.”

Jewish organizations and movements have also expressed concerns that the law would set back their efforts to promote Jewish pluralism in Israel.

Since the law was passed by the Knesset two weeks ago, it has already come under fire by the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and both the Reform and Conservative movements.