Israel's Far-Right Pushes Bill Putting Jewishness Before Democracy

The latest version of the bill would force high courts to side with those claiming certain people or religious beliefs hurt the state's Jewish character.

General view of the Israeli parliament. In Israel, the far-right coalition continues to toy with a new bill that would change the country's status. But the implications of this bill would be far-reaching, making it impossible for Israelis who aren't Jewish to have any voice.

If the coalition has its way and the last version of the bill passes, Israel's status would go from a democracy to a Jewish nation-state first, as the bill would redefine its government as a “Jewish and Democratic state,” reports. Effectively, this move would ensure that whenever legal matters are under review, the Israeli High Court would be legally bound to favor the country's Jewish character over democracy.

Essentially, this would work only in favor of anti-democractic moves as it would allow Jewish parties to target citizens who aren't Jewish by forcing the court to side with lawmakers pushing against Arab parties, for instance.

If this bill becomes law, then all that lawmakers would have to do to win over the courts would be to argue that those they are targeting based solely on their religion are hurting the country's Jewish character. In no time, the coalition would be able to keep Arab parties from participating in elections, among other steps they would take to ensure their so-called enemies aren't seen as legitimate citizens of the Israeli state.

While it's terrifying that this kind of policy is even being considered by a state with such history of animosity toward its Muslim population,'s Jason Ditz claims that the bill might not pass as some of the most moderate lawmakers may feel pressured to go against it thanks to its anti-Democratic stance. Members of the opposition would also heavily oppose the bill, which may help to kill it before we know it.

Still, there's a chance this piece of legislation could pass. And just that thought alone makes us wonder if Israel's far-right faction will ever admit its blatant disregard for its non-Jewish citizens.

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