Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
New Justice Minister Tzipi Livn.

MK Tzipi Livni, Israel’s newest Justice Minister, stressed on Saturday that she would not support the basic law bill “Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” whose promotion is part of the new coalition agreements with the Jewish Home party.

In the absence of a constitution, The Basic Laws of Israel (Chukei Hayesod) deal with the formation and role of the principal state’s institutions, and the relations between the state’s authorities.


Some of the basic laws also protect civil rights.

These laws were originally intended as draft chapters of a future Israeli constitution, but since over the past 65 years the Knesset has yet to come up with a final, all-encompassing constitution, these laws are being used by the courts as a de facto constitution.

As of today, the Basic Laws do not cover all constitutional issues, and there is no deadline set to the completion of the process of merging them into one comprehensive constitution. There is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system.

The new bill, endorsed so far by at least 40 MKs, many of them Likud members, opens with a paraphrasing of the original Israeli Declaration of Independence:

The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish nation, where it fulfills its desire for self-determination according to its cultural and historical heritage.

The right for the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish nation.

The provisions of this Basic Law or any other legislation will hence be interpreted in light of what is prescribed in this section.

The rest of the proposal includes references to Israel’s democratic system of government, its official language (only one – Hebrew), the law of return, the national calendar, Jewish law as the final arbiter of judicial conflicts, and the preservation of the holy sites.

In short, there’s much in there to upset a lefty. Indeed, a think tank named The Israeli Institute for Democracy, has been warning against it for several years, saying it would disrupt the delicate balance between Israel’s being a Jewish state and a democracy.

Justice Minister Livni told interviewer Nadav Peri: “I’m against the law and will act to make sure it doesn’t pass.”

Livni added that she is also about to serve as chair of the ministerial legislative committee, which sends up government laws for Knesset approval, a new role she took up especially in order “to prevent legislation that would harm the Democrats values of the State of Israel.”


Previous articleBi-Partisan Letter to Erdogan: Anti-Zionism Comment Unacceptable
Next articleJewish Baby Survives Fall in NY Strapped to Suicidal Mom
Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


  1. Israel is the Jewish state, the same as Italy is the Italian state, and Ireland is the Irish state — not the British state. What I object to is those who consider Israel the Orthodox Jewish state, and that halaichic law being the final judge.

  2. My associates and I have watched Livini with great force and emotion urge the Obama administration to exercise tough love and brute force to make Israel bend to the American dream (fantasy) that enough concessions to the Palestinians will secure peace in the Middle East and love for America by the Islamists.

    This woman should not be permitted to have any influence in Israeli government.

    She would rather undercut Israel than lose power. She, who is so willing to compromise with tPalestinian terrorists is very unwilling to compromise with her coreligionists.

  3. Religion in Israel belongs in Synagogues not in Government. We have seen how Orthodox religions like the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestant religions can deprive women of their rights and Health care coverage. Keep religion out of Government in Israel.It only impedes progress.

  4. Really? Israel was founded as the Jewish State and will remain so! Women have more freedoms in Israel then in most countries INCLUDING the US and definitely Egypt. I DO notice that you live in Egypt yet do not include Islamist states in your listing of religions to avoid.

  5. Really? Israel was founded as the Jewish State and will remain so! Women have more freedoms in Israel then in most countries INCLUDING the US and definitely Egypt. I DO notice that you live in Egypt yet do not include Islamist states in your listing of religions to avoid.

  6. The real issue is that the left has always ruled, whether or not the so called right sits at the helm. This is why a Constitution has been thwarted, knowing full well that Israel's Jewish character would be its centerpiece –

    The fact that Bibi chose Livni as the head of the Justice Ministry, says it all. She will not only block Jewish rights, but will help install the most radical left, pro Arab judges, and the results lie at Bibi's door –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  7. Enacting this would be very bad for Israel. Why drop Arabic as one of the official languages; a majority of the population speaks it! And instituting halachah as the official law will have an incredible number of unintended consequences, including the freeing of most murderers, even terrorists.

  8. According to the 1948 "Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel," Israel is "the" Jewish State, i.e. the political expression of the self-determination of the Jewish People in a part of its aboriginal homeland. There, some self-identified "Jews" have lived in each and every year since the emergence in Biblical times of a local human population calling itself "Jewish." Thus, Israel is the ancient and current homeland of the Jewish People, in the same way that Greece is now homeland of the enduring Greek People. For many centuries, those self-identified "Jews" continuously living in their aboriginal homeland were just a small fraction of the local population. However, today Jews are once again the majority of the population, west of the Jordan River. The Jewish State can also be more of less of "a" Jewish State, i.e. a country that privileges the religion of Judaism and gives it a special place in the public space. This question of Judaism in the public space is entirely a matter to be decided by Israel's citizens who can also debate the matter with Jews in the Diaspora. The United Kingdom still privileges the Anglican Church. The Greek Constitution has special provisions for the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ. The legal systems of many Muslim and Arab countries privilege Islam and sometimes give legal effect to Muslim law. Go to for an October 2011 posting entitled "Jewish Aboriginal Rights to Israel." The website also has several other thoughtful essays touching Jews, Judaism, the Jewish People and Israel.

  9. Charlie, totally NOT true. In fact, I am in close contact with two founders of well known policy centers in Israel, both of whom are religious, and they are helping to draft the Constitution, working alongside members of the Knesset!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  10. Mordecai, why? Because regardless of the majority public's votes, the end result is the same – leftists in control of the real power centers – …and this is no small matter.

    In fact, much of my collaboration with Israel Institute For Strategic Studies – …revolves around the above issue.

    Its deleterious effects touches every strategic decision, bar none.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  11. You're spot-on, Lilane. And if women have to beg their husbands for a "get," I can't see how women have more freedoms than they do in the US. Moreover, I can't conceive of the NYPD (or any other police dept.) arresting women praying at the 9/11 Memorial because they're wearing a mens-style tallit.

    On the other hand, I'll grant Arie that women have more freedom in Israel than in that Scheisseholle directly to its west.

  12. Yes. 20% are Arabs and speak Arabic as their first language. And about 40% of the Jewish majority came from Arabic speaking countries, or are the children of such immigrants. It is really silly to drop Arabic as an official language. Besides, great Jewish sages like Rabbi Sadiah Gaon and Mainomides wrote in Arabic.

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...