Is This Land Still Our Land: The Expropriation of Zionism
The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the State could not allocate land to the Jewish Agency for Jewish settlement (inside the green line). It held that this violated equality because it discriminated against non-Jews (Arabs) who could not buy a house in this Jewish settlement. This, even though the Court had years before allowed the State to sell land at subsidized prices exclusively to Arabs (Bedouins) in an urban area planned just for them.
Other similar cases were brought, including one which would prohibit the State from facilitating Jewish settlements on Jewish National Fund lands which, were bought with private Jewish funds raised from Jews all over the world since 1901. The JNF is a private company whose charter provides that it is to purchase land in Israel for Jews to develop and settle, and that these JNF lands were never to be sold (only leased) and are to be held in perpetual trust for the Jewish People. The Attorney General, representing the State in the court proceeding (though never consulting with the government) took the position in court that JNF land, like State land, cannot be used for exclusively Jewish settlement.
Jewish settlement is a cardinal value of the Zionist project to establish and promote a Jewish State. The petitioners in all these cases are Arab NGOs and many see this as another thrust in a coordinated effort to undermine and eliminate the Zionist state.
In an article published this month in Azure two members of the IZS team discuss this case, the meaning of democracy, and the morality of a Jewish state. They show that many democratic states, like Israel, are nation-states which promote the majority culture, identity, religion, and/or immigration of its kin (e.g., Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, and Greece). They show that the Court is bogged down in a parochial conception of democracy and that it misconstrues the nature of nation-states. They argue that the Israeli Court currently is an elitist, undemocratic body abrogating for itself the right to change the Israeli society against the wishes of the vast majority of its citizens and of their democratically elected representatives.
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