Part of the current Zionist propaganda is that Israel is a liberal democracy, sharing values with other liberal democracies in ‘the West’ and elsewhere. I dispute this claim, on the following grounds:
- Israel defines itself as a Jewish state. Liberal democracies belong collectively to all their citizens. They do not define themselves by their majority ethnic or religious group. The United Kingdom does not call itself an English state. Belgium does not call itself a Flemish state. South Africa does not call itself a Black African state.
- Israel registers a national/ethnic identity of all citizens, such as Jewish, Arab, Druze, etc, which is assigned by the Ministry of the Interior. There is no ‘Israeli’ national identity. When liberal democracies enquire into the ethnicity of citizens, they do so only for statistical purposes, and citizens choose their own ethnicity, or can refuse to answer.
- Israel has compulsory military service for all Jewish citizens (except married women). Liberal democracies do not discriminate between ethnic groups when recruiting for the armed services.
- Israel has no civil marriage. Some religious communities forbid inter-faith marriages, so such couples cannot marry in Israel. Individuals who have no religious faith, or a faith that is not recognised in Israel (e.g Buddhism), cannot marry in Israel. (Since 2010 ‘couplehood unions’ with some rights and responsibilities similar to marriage have become available for non-religious couples). Also, Jewish marriages follow Orthodox rules, giving problems to some couples from other streams of Judaism. Liberal democracies have civil marriage provisions to avoid religious domination and discrimination.
- Political parties which “act directly or indirectly against the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people” are not eligible to run in Knesset elections. It is illegal for parties to campaign for Israel to become a liberal democracy (i.e one which is not religiously or ethnically defined), or to advocate a union between the two states of Israel and Palestine to form a single liberal democratic state.
Note. I do not criticise Israel for not being a liberal democracy. It has a right to adopt any form of government it chooses (as long as it does not violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). But I disapprove of the false claim being made by Zionist propagandists in order to curry favour with powerful states that are liberal democracies.
Update: 6 June 2014 There is an interesting article, related to point 2 above, which discusses court rulings that have prevented Israeli citizens from being registered with an identity of ‘Israeli’ rather than ‘Jewish’ or ‘Arab’ etc. It also explains how these legalities are used in practice to discriminate against non-Jewish citizens.
Additional sources: Wikipedia pages Israeli Identity Card, Marriage in Israel.
Last revision: 6 June, 2014 | Shortlink: religion-science-peace.org/?p=731