Monthly Archives

June 2016

17th Knesset Zionist Legislasion Scale

By | Constitution, nation state | No Comments

Zionist Legislation

 

As the 17th Knesset draws to an end, the Institute of Zionist Strategies is proud to publish the Zionist Legislation Scale, in which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to Members of Knesset who excelled in Zionist legislation activism.

 

What is the Zionist Legislation Scale?

 

The Zionist Legislation Scale Report is being published for the first time by the Institute of Zionist Strategies in preparation for the upcoming elections. The report summarizes the Zionist legislation passed during the term of the 17th Knesset, from Nissan 5766 (March 2006) to Shvat 5769 (February 2009).  The report only contains laws and amendments that passed the entire legislation process.  This report praises the Zionist activism of MKs who excelled in passing these laws.

 

What is Zionist Legislation?

 

Zionism, in this day in age, is a concept that is open to broad interpretation.  The definition of Zionism can be quite vague and minimalist (for example, establishing a State for the Jewish nation), or alternatively, very comprehensive (for instance, creating a perfect society that will set an example for the world).

 

We, at the Institute for Zionist Strategies, believe that Zionist activity should be understood as the strengthening the State of Israel as a National Home for the Jewish Nation, by means of intensifying its Jewish identity.

 

According to this definition, Zionist legislature can be realized both on a classical practical level, by supporting settlement, security, or Aliya absorption, for instance, and similarly by means of actualizing the principles and values that the State of Israel was built upon and were stated in the Declaration of Independence.

 

Results

 

Ten leading MKs comprise the head of the Zionist pyramid of the exiting Knesset.  MK Ya’akov Margi (Shas) ranked first place and won the gold medal.  The silver medal was received by MKs Otniel Shneller, Rabbi Michael Malkior and Moshe Kahlon, in that order.  The bronze medal went to MKs Amnon Cohen, Gilad Erdan, Aryeh Eldad, Uri Ariel, Yitzhak Levi and Avshalom Vilan.

 

 

For the full report click here.

National Preference Areas

By | Constitution, nation state, National Public Lands | No Comments

A Proposal for Government Policymaking

As prepared for a meeting with the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office (2.09.09)

 

Read first the historical brief (Hebrew)

 

Following is an opinion piece by the Institute for Zionist Strategies concerning principles central to the implementation of policy in accordance with the National Preference Areas Law:

  • The National Preference Areas Law is a good law that provides a suitable framework for the government to achieve the goal of the law: promoting the development of areas or towns defined as having national preference.
  • Clear standards are necessary as they facilitate transparency and prevent political decision making due to political pressure (mayors, party activists, etc.).
  • Therefore, the considerations presented in this law must be transformed into clear standards.  Our proposal is to accept the considerations as a whole as a conditional system as proposed below:
    • Sufficient condition (If A exists, then B exists.  Therefore, it is sufficient for one condition to exist in order to include a particular settlement in a national preference area)
      • Population distribution planning (Subclause 3 as appears in Chapter 26: National Preference Areas, Clause 151-B).
      • The burden of absorbing aliya (6).
    • Necessary Conditions (If A does not exist, then B does not exist, therefore, if the condition does not exist, a settlement may not be included in a National Preference Area – aside from if it fulfills one of the sufficient conditions):
      • The economic and social strength of the area (2).
      • The necessity to bridge gaps (5).
      • Tax collection rates (appears as a condition in Clause 152-A).
      • National, civil and military service enlistment rates (does not appear as a consideration in the current law, thought it should serve as a condition as will be explained later in this document).
    • Other conditions
      • The security situation (1).
      • Geographic location in relation to the central region of the State or the distance to a population center (4).
      • Additional considerations with the approval of the Financial Committee (7).
  • A large portion of the debate concerning National Preference Areas in the Knesset Financial Committee revolves around considerations, concerning which the government is supposed to make decisions.  It is advisable to notice that despite the order of the considerations having no formal legal significance, members of Knesset requested that the security situation in the region or a particular settlement be placed first in order to highlight its importance.
  • In the event that the issue is presented to the Supreme Court again, a legal opinion piece should be prepared which is to clarify the difference between basic rights and privileges, and by means of such to explain why defining certain areas as national preference areas does not upset the equality principle.  Moreover, because the security consideration is a central consideration, it is reasonable to assume that most towns that do not suffer from security issues will not be entitled to such privileges.
  • It is advantageous to include military (or national/civil) service as a necessary condition for several reasons:
    • Because the number of beneficiaries of the law is limited, it fitting to give preference to those who partake in the burden.
    • Military service is a main cause of mobility within Israeli society and serves as an effective tool in bridging gaps in Israeli society.
    • It is possible to see encouragement of service for the State as a legitimate national consideration.
  • In addition, it is proposed to investigate the situation and consider the possibility that the substandard conditions of Arab towns are not a result of a lack of government support.  It may in fact be true that Israeli Arabs receive more government support than do Jewish citizens of Israel.
  • An additional proposal that is not directly related to the law: In 1949, the first transit camps were established, which in time turned into development towns.  Despite 2009 being the sixtieth year of development towns, it is proposed to designate Israel’s 62nd anniversary as a commemoration of sixty years of development towns.

Solidarity, Nationalism and Humanism – on the Question of Immigration

By | Immigration | No Comments

By Avi Diskin

The question of immigration is part and parcel of the basic societal dilemmas which we call, in the current context, the dilemma of “solidarity limits.” National solidarity is not only a practical and appropriate solution but is also an idea which is a suitable companion to basic liberal rights and freedoms such as the right for self-definition and the right of free association.

The currently most accepted and stable limits of solidarity are the borders of sovereign nations in general and the borders of nation-states specifically. Countries are characterized by territorial limits and by the sovereignty they apply to the territory they control. It is this sovereignty which is decisive in immigration issues. International agreements and the principles of basic morality require countries to help refugees — especially those running for their lives — but in principle leave the formalities of immigration to the various sovereign nations. Countries are not required to grant refugees citizenship or even integrate them into society; they are only required to prevent the refugee’s extradition to places which represent a danger to life. All countries apply selection criteria for immigration and in many countries these tests center around the country’s national identity and the identity of those seeking to immigrate.

Both theoretically and practically, Woodrow Wilson’s liberal philosophy about the right to self-identification was exceptional. This right finds expression in the immigration policies of many countries. The idea of self-identification also was expressed in the foundation of the League of Nations, and while the League recognized the right of the Jewish people to define its own identity and to found a national home for the Jews, it is undoubtedly true that this recognition was the fruit of efforts by the Zionist movement.

At the center of the Zionist ideal is the founding of a national home for the Jews in the land of Israel. The Zionist ideal therefore places immigration of Jews to Israel as a central organizing principle. Anti-Zionist agents would refuse both the right of Jews to immigrate to Israel and the right of a Jewish state to exist. Both Zionists and anti-Zionists connect the rights of immigration and the existence of the State of Israel.

After the foundation of the State the Zionist ideal was expressed in the Law of Return and in citizenship laws. Challenging these laws means challenging the right of the State of Israel to exist. Laws like the Law of Return exist in many liberal-democratic countries, and attempts to challenge them in only the State of Israel are an aberration from what is accepted as ideal and as common practice.

The results of the War of Independence, the Israeli immigration laws, and the Jews’ longing to return to the land fulfilled the Zionist ideal in two ways. First, the clear and stable majority of Israeli citizens are Jews. Second, the percentage of worldwide Jews living in Israel is steadily growing.

A comparison of immigration statistics shows that nationality does have an influence in some countries. For example, similar vocabularies and a feeling of pan-Arabic nationalism explain immigration patterns within Arab countries. On the whole, though, the main variable in immigration patterns is an economic one. Modern theories emphasize the importance of degradation and social distance alongside economics as factors leading to emigration.

The triangle of nation-state, democratic regime, and immigration policy has accompanied Zionism since its earliest days. Jews have been persecuted for being Jews throughout the diaspora. Zionism strove to solve the Jewish problem in every single place by establishing a nation-state to which Jews from the whole disapora would immigrate. Since the Zionist enterprise began, the Zionist leadership and the Zionist majority championed the establishment of a democratic nation-state which would continue the work of ingathering. The overwhelming assumption of the Zionist leadership was that the state which would be established would be a Jewish and democratic state, a nation-state of all its citizens. The attempt to create a contradiction between these two elements, in the context of immigration or in any other context, is neither correct nor ethical. It denies Zionist philosophy, distorts the international experience of the modern era, and stands in contradiction to the political, practical, and judicial reality in the State of Israel. The claim of a universal right to immigration and a universal requirement to integrate immigrants is baseless — morally, legally, and practically — both in Israel and in every other country.

To the full position paper (in hebrew)