Opinion |

The High Court of Justice Against the Israeli People

In questioning the nation-state law, even the 'conservative' justices are causing grave damage to the soul of the nation that returned to Zion with so much suffering

Israel Harel
Israel Harel
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File Photo: Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
File Photo: Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Israel Harel
Israel Harel

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut has announced that a panel of 11 justices will soon debate the petitions against the legality of the nation-state law. The holding of this debate in itself means the justices are assuming that they have the authority to rule whether the historic stipulations in this Basic Law – that “the Land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people” and therefore “the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people” – are right.

The same goes for enshrining in a Basic Law the essence of the return to Zion in our time: “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

Hayut and her colleagues also believe that everything is subject to the High Court’s ruling, that they have the power to strike down the law stipulating that “the state’s language is Hebrew,” that the state’s name is Israel, and that “Hatikva,” which moves the souls and straightens the backs of most Jews around the world, is the national anthem.

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The same goes for their readiness to discuss a clause in the law stating that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.” By the very legitimacy they give these petitions, the judges, even the “conservative” ones, are gravely damaging the roots of the soul and the right of the path of the nation that returned, with so much suffering, to Zion.

To the High Court, even the legality of the clause that enjoys a sweeping national consensus – “The state will be open for Jewish aliyah [immigration] and the ingathering of exiles” (the Law of Return) – is worthy of re-examination. If the Jewish state’s Supreme Court didn’t throw out the petitions against the ingathering of the exiles – the highest of Zionist ideals – no wonder it sees itself authorized to reexamine the legality of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in the Land of Israel.

One of the enterprises that laid the physical, ideological and security foundations to establishing Israel is the settlement project laid by the pioneers of the first immigration waves. Without it, it’s doubtful whether the state would have been established. The nation-state law encourages the founding fathers’ path and declares that the “state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value.”

Clearly with the strengthening of anti-Zionist tendencies, individuals and groups will arise and attempt to undermine this Zionist principle. But why should the High Court, whose very foundation was enabled by the early settlement attempts’ huge success, lend its hand to this devastating sabotage?

So as not to widen the division underlying the High Court’s pretension to debate these existential principles, the judges should retract their willingness to debate the nation-state law. By so doing they would preserve the Jewish people’s honor, the state’s honor, the Knesset’s honor, the law’s honor, the Supreme Court’s honor and their personal honor.

If they don’t retract their steps, I call on the so-called conservative judges to quit the panel and not suffice with rejecting the petitions. By so doing they would immeasurably bolster the outcry against the destructive initiatives to deny the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in Israel.

The shock that their resignation would generate could make an extremely significant contribution to restoring balance and sanity to the justice system. Presumably many Zionists who are disheartened by the anti-Zionist propaganda would come to their senses as a result of the stormy public debate that would follow this brave move.

And for a change, Israel would finally have an election campaign that doesn’t simply focus on the candidates’ personalities. It would also address the most important principle of our continued life and existence in this good and languishing homeland.

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