Middle East Monitor / April 27, 2023
One of Israel’s far-right ministers is seeking to make Zionism the “guiding principle of the government’s activities.” If passed, the move will entrench the principle of Jewish supremacy deeper than it already is in the policies and practices of Israel. According to Haaretz, the Israeli cabinet is supposed to decide whether to advance the resolution and, if so, how, tonight.
Negev and Galilee Development Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf is behind the proposal, which is said to be the first attempt by members of the current far-right governing coalition to translate the 2018 racist Nation-State Law into policy.
The 2018 bill downgraded the status of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens by declaring that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. On the issue of settlements which are illegal under international law, it says that “the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
It’s unclear what difference Wasserlauf’s proposed bill will make practically given that Zionism has been the state ideology of Israel since its founding in 1948. The 2018 racist Nation-State Law merely formalised decades old Israeli practices such as expanding Jewish only settlements and discriminatory laws that privilege Jews over non-Jews.
“At the next cabinet meeting, we’ll bring up a historic resolution,” said Wasserlauf in a tweet announcing the proposal. “Zionism will be a guiding and decisive principle in all the activities of government ministries.” Wasserlauf, a member of Itamar Ben Gvir’s ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit Party explained that the resolution “will enable us to give preference to IDF [Israeli army] soldiers and army veterans, entrench the Jewish people’s connection with its land and strengthen the Negev, the Galilee and Judea and Samaria,” using the Hebrew terms for the southern and northern occupied West Bank.
The goal of the government decision, according to the bill’s explanatory supplement revealed by the Time Of Israel “is to instruct all officials and branches of the government, to give — as part of the considerations included when setting and implementing policy — meaningful consideration to Zionist values.”