Laws, proposals, and protests

It’s mid-summer. Lots of people are on vacation. There are several issues bothering us, but perhaps none of them capable of changing things in any drastic way.

As the Knesset was getting ready to shut itself down for about two months, it enacted two measures that have continued to cause problems.

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One was the Nationality Law. The other a measure that excluded homosexual couples from the possibility of arranging surrogate mothers in Israel.

The Nationality Law claims more than it is. It defines the centrality of the Jewish people to the State of Israel, the importance of national symbols, the Hebrew language and days of rest. It avoids the issue of equality among citizens, as well as a definition of who is a Jew.

Estimates of 50,000 to more than 100,000 participated in a Saturday evening demonstration against the Nationality Law. Speeches at the demonstration were from prominent Druze, as well as former heads of Israel’s security operations..

The theme of the protest was the lack of equality in the Nationality Law, along with assertions of unity. The demonstration ended with the singing of Hatikva, defined as the national hymn in the Nationality Law.

For its supporters, the law is essential, and cannot be changed. For its opponents, the law is provocative and threatens to delegitimize some 20 percent of the population.

The surrogacy law denies single sex couples the option of arranging a surrogacy mother in Israel.

Both enactments have caused problems in Israel’s summer, otherwise calmed by the inability of Knesset to respond, and low level tension in north and south..

The Nationality Law has been described as put together swiftly by one supporter. It actually lay on the Knesset’s table for several years. Another supporter has said that it’s imperfect, but was wanted by the Prime Minister.

The Surrogacy mother legislation has the support of the ultra-Orthodox, at least one of whose leadership has said that the Nationality Law is imperfect.

A simple fix up seems unlikely.

Druze, Circassians, Bedouin, and Arabs are leading the demands about the Nationality Law, with homosexuals, lesbians, and their friends leading on the item dealing with surrogacy motherhood.

Netanyahus problems with the police and prosecutors have something to do with the PM’s efforts to deal with these issues.

The prosecutor is scheduled to produce an indictment against Sara after the holidays in October, and to schedule hearings for Bibi early in 2019.

Netanyahu ended his meeting with Druze leaders soon after it began. He charged that the word "Apartheid" was mentioned. A separate meeting with the Nationality Law‘s creator, MK Avi Dichter, included the word "Nazi."

 We’re hearing of an arrangement with Hamas that’ll stretch over several months. It would include a halting of balloon and kite attacks, sea and airports, with some built on Egyptian land in the Sinai, along with an opening of established ways into Israel and Egypt, plus improvements in the quality of life for Gazans.

There is no mention about the return of bodies to Israel in the arrangements with Hamas, while those committed to the issue see it as the sine qua non of any possible agreement.

And in the north, there been success of the Bashar regime in re-establishing control over border positions. However, there’s been one plane coming over the border and being shot down, other instances of shells landing in Israel, and ISIS fighters being killed as they approached the border. There are competing stories about Iranian forces kept from the border area, but of Hezbollah being among the forces that have approached the area.

Also in the air is an American effort, by Jared Kushner, to persuade Palestinians to reject their status as refugees, and to wind up the activity of UNRWA.

All told, it’s a time of tension, but with Israel seeming in charge of its own territory.

But nothing’s certain.

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