Israeli officials led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are panicking after the Israeli Supreme Court authored the first ever secular opinion that legally defines a “Jew.”
In an 8-1 decision, the court found that practitioners of Judaism, even those who are racially impure and converted through marriage by Reform or Conservative sects, are entitled to Israeli citizenship under the 1950 Law of Return, which states “Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh.”
The Israeli government is worried that the decision would force the government to grant citizenship to Africans, Eastern Europeans and Syrians that practice Judaism but are racially excluded by the strict, DNA obsessed Chief Rabbinate.
When a journalist asked Netanyahu what his government was planning to do to prevent African Jews from immigrating to Israel under the ruling, he pointed to the border wall he built, which he boasted kept a million blacks out that otherwise “would’ve collapsed” and “overrun” the Jewish state.
Israel only has one program for being accepted as a Jew that is independent of the highly intolerant Rabbinate. The program, Nativ, allows some Eastern Europeans whose Jewish heritage is impure to obtain honorary Jewish status in exchange for risky military service in the IDF.
But even this small exception is too much for more inflexible Zionists. A Knesset lawmaker recently condemned the program by calling the soldiers the racial slur “Shiksas” and saying any Jewish man who marries a Nativ graduate should be shunned by his family.
While Jews in the West often attack “white” as a social construct, the question of who is legally Jewish under Israel’s race laws has proven to be far more complex. So far, the state has deferred to the narrow definitions set by the Rabbinate, who appear to make it up as they go along and make exceptions for politically motivated reasons. It is doubtful that, for example, Ivanka Trump’s Jewish status would be recognized under the system were she not the daughter of a prominent billionaire and US President.
It is unlikely the Supreme Court’s ruling will stick. The Likud parties parliamentary allies, United Torah Judaism, have announced that they will not join a coalition after the March 23rd elections that does not prioritize legislating to overturn the new definition of Jew.
Netanyahu has also announced that he plans to include the Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party in his post election coalition government. Jewish Power calls on expelling the minority of Arab-Israelis, destroying the historic Al-Aqsa Mosque and celebrates the 1994 lone wolf terrorist attack by Baruch Goldstein. The party is also violently anti-Christian, and counts former lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari, famous for making a show of destroying a copy of the New Testament, as a supporter.
The Jewish diaspora, which overwhelmingly supports Israel despite preaching extreme forms of liberalism that advance their minoritarian interests in host countries, should be forced to answer for the outrageous forms of xenophobia, supremacism and racial violence the first ever state for Jews and by Jews represents.