Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


Israel Nation-State Law Passes Amid Deep Concern

July 20, 2018
Posted by: JCRC Staff

Early on Thursday, July 19, the Israeli Knesset passed legislation known as Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. The new law has caused controversy in Israel and in the American Jewish community. National U.S. Jewish organizations have raised concerns that the legislation will have a negative impact on Jewish pluralism in Israel and on the equal treatment of Israel’s minority populations (see statements below). We have heard similar concerns from members of our Jewish community, the interfaith community and from our allies across the Bay Area, and wish to provide you with the following information. 

Our Bay Area Jewish community and the JCRC are deeply committed to Israel and to its future. We believe in “the civil, economic and social rights of all Israelis, including its Arab citizens.” For decades, we have been on record in our belief that a strong and vibrant democracy depends on the active integration of all of its citizens. We believe in the critically important role of “Israel’s Supreme Court in safeguarding democratic protections,” and have voiced deep concern about attacks on the Court’s authority. There is also a consensus view among Bay Area Jews that initiatives undertaken to marginalize or deny religiously liberal Jews legitimacy, authenticity or full rights are of deep concern and dangerous to Israel’s democracy. 

In the coming weeks, we will be gathering influential Bay Area faith leaders who care about Israel to discuss these issues and learn about our Jewish community’s perspectives and work. 

We encourage YOU to:

  • Become involved with our Invest in Peace campaign to support peaceful and prosperous coexistence
  • Donate to Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund projects aimed at strengthening Israel as a pluralistic, democratic, and shared society with equal opportunity for all its citizens
  • Learn more from experts in a conference call on July 30 (details below)

Text of the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People

Hebrew version
English translation

Statements by U.S. Jewish Organizations

More information, by the Israel Democracy Institute, here.

Nation-State Bill Becomes Law: Arab Citizens, State-Minority and Jewish-Arab Relations (Conference Call)
Monday, July 30, at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues is hosting a conference call to hear from Dr. Amir Fuchs, from the Israeli Democracy Institute, and Mohammad Darawshe, from Givat Haviva, about the current and potential implications of this law for Israeli democracy, and for Israel’s Arab society in terms of status, sense of belonging and related discourse. Please RSVP to for call-in details.

Further Reading


Image: Knesset Menorah in Jerusalem (2005)