15 April, 2010

Identity can be complicated

The are no "Israelis" in Israel. At least no official Israelis. The state of Israel maintains a distinction between "citizenship" and "nationality" that allows one to say that while all people can be citizens the state belongs to the "Jewish nation." In other words, Jews who have never visited Israel (roughly 7 million) have an official status denied to Arabs who have lived there all of their lives.

A group of Jews and Arabs are going to the Supreme Court of Israel to be recognized as "Israelis," but I wouldn't bet on their chances. A 1970 decision has already found against the plaintifs in a similar case. Meanwhile. it's one more sign of the tension built into the country. How can one be a democracy and a Jewish state simultaneously?

Not to mention the disagreements about what constitutes a Jew, or whether someone is just "Jewish."

If it wasn't so tragic in so many ways, it would still be fascinating.

No comments: