Opinion

Israelis don’t exist

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Just before leaving Israel last week, I had a little conversation with my nephew aged 7. He asked me whether Denmark was a Christian country. I said that whilst the majority are considered Christians (most of whom don’t go regularly to church), there are people of other religions and faiths. He asked me whether Christians were enemies of Jews, and I said they weren’t. He said that was good, because then he would be enemies with my children, his cousins (who in fact are not Jews).

Then he said he’s not Jewish himself, because he was born in USA. I told him that Judaism is a religion – and here I had to tell him a truth which caused a roaring silence amongst the family bystanders – I told him that a Jew can be born anywhere in the world, because Judaism is a religion – and not a nationality… and this is where I was obviously speaking diametrically against the deceit of the State of Israel, in its considering Jews a “nation”, whilst denying the recognition of an Israeli nationality – officially so – and in addition deceiving the world on Israeli passports marked “Nationality – Israeli”.

You might think I’ve got to be kidding, or exaggerating. No, not a joke – in fact, a very serious issue with grave ramifications.

Let me present some solid facts:

In Israeli ID cards, there is no Israeli nationality (LEOM in Hebrew) – only Israeli citizenship (EZRAHUT in Hebrew). Within the Israeli internal registry there exist about 130 different “nationalities” that the Israeli state recognises. Whilst in the new biometric ID (see photo above) Israel omits specifying “citizenship” or “nationality”, it has mentioned “nationality” on older ones (see photo below) or later written “Citizenship-Israeli” and added an additional backslip where “nationality” and “religion” are mentioned. Whilst an “Arab” for example will be listed under “religion” as a Christian, or a Muslim etc., Jews will have BOTH their nationality and religion listed as “Jews” by default. The Jewish aspect is thus considered by the state as an absolutist national-religious unity, by default. Whatever the State chooses to specify or omit as items on the front or the back of the cards, for any sort of national convenience, it has its own internal registry which specifies these mentioned items.

Israeli i.d. card
Israeli i.d. card
There are those who have tried to attain recognition of their nationality as “Israeli”, but those who have tried receive the standard answer from the Ministry of the Interior, that “it was decided not to recognize an Israeli nationality”.

Now this is very irregular, and would look really bad abroad. I mean, doesn’t it?

So in order to conceal this irregularity, Israel pretends to be normal – here’s how it’s done:

I have an Israeli passport. I just looked it up, to be sure:

In the English section titled “Nationality” it says in English “Israeli”. Oh but wait a minute; didn’t the Ministry of the Interior explicitly say that it doesn’t recognize such a thing? So what is written in Hebrew on my passport, in the corresponding section? In Hebrew, it says “Citizenship – Israeli.” So it translates “Nationality” to the Hebrew term for “Citizenship.” That way it doesn’t imply that there is an Israeli Nationality in the Hebrew terminology. But it does do so in the English version.

In our age and times, a “nation” is generally understood as related to a country, a state entity. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory” [my emphasis]. The “United Nations” generally means a collectivity of states and state entities, generally related to particular territories. Israel is represented there as Israel, not as “The Jews”.

Israel thus realises that such a discrepancy between state and nation is, internationally, quite meaningless for all practical terms, which is why it applies “Israeli” as nationality in passports – but not in its ID cards. So it has two sets of definitions: one inside Israel, one abroad. Let’s call a spade a spade: the State of Israel lies about its definitions and misrepresents them internationally.

The reason Israel actually refrains from recognising an Israeli nationality (despite the misrepresentation abroad), is because Israel is a Jewish State, that’s what it defines itself as, that’s how it wants to be recognized. The consequence of making every Israeli equal before the State as an Israeli national, would inevitably mean that the State’s ability to control the “Jewish character” of the state, which also translates down to outright discrimination of non-Jews and control of “demography”, would be undermined.

The “Jewish State”, by its very definition, has to keep its population separated in definition, so that it would always reserve for itself the possibility of discriminating against a “sector” of the population on a quasi-religious-quasi-racial basis, without it appearing as if it favours one “Israeli” more than another “Israeli” – simply because for the State of Israel, ISRAELIS DON’T EXIST.

So whilst a “State of Israel” does exist, whilst it does have Israeli citizens, it has no Israeli nationals. In this void, the default becomes that the state is the Jewish State, and therefore those who are in closest proximity to this national definition are the Jews. Thereby, without there in fact being Israeli nationals, the ones who come closest to actually being Israelis… are the Jews. Thus, whilst “all Israelis are equal” (whilst not really existing as nationals), some are indeed more “Israeli” than others…

Go and explain that to a 7 year old. But what about us adults? Have we understood the full meaning of this paradigm? If the state itself has not separated between religion and nationality, how can it ever hope to achieve “religious freedom”? How can it ever “ensure complete equality…to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion…guarantee freedom of religion” as it states in its Declaration of Independence?
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Good piece. People abroad often don’t understand that Citizen and National aren’t the same thing in Israel. They are used pretty interchangeably worldwide. You also see that even they think it’s indefensible when abroad, so they alter the English translations to make it more acceptable to western audiences. Is this… Read more »

Great article. Thanks.

Great article! Which incidently and indirectly describes, to the letter, the very reason every single Israeli pre-condition to peace now begins with “recognizing the State of Israel and its right to exist as a Jewish state” instead of the previous “recognizing the State of Israel and its right to exist”.… Read more »

Yes, I agree. Wonder what Dick and Jane would think about this?

“The Supreme court said they could not acknowledge having an Israeli nationality because that would undermine the very character of the state of Israel” – Ronnie Barkan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVn0LXPDIbw&