The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens while forcing the ultra Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship.
With a fascist mood permeating Israeli government and society, we set out into the streets of central Jerusalem to engage young revelers on the issue of loyalty. Because Israel is debating legislation claiming that it is alone the Jewish sovereign state and has the authority to speak in the name of the “Jewish people,” we thought that the opinions of supporters of Israel from the Jewish diaspora were an essential element in any discussion about the proposed loyalty bill. Given the already simmering controversy over ‘dual loyalty’ in the United States, the topic needed to be explored thoroughly and unflinchingly. Did the Zionist loyalty oath represent a fulcrum point in the ‘dual loyalty’ debate for diaspora Jews? Would diaspora Jews have any objection to taking an oath to defend the Jewish state? If so, did that put their allegiance to their country of residence in question?
- Max Blumenthal
See his full article here