A recent survey by the Israel Democracy Institute has revealed that 62 percent of the Jews in Israel support conditioning the right to vote for the Knesset on a declaration of loyalty to the state. With regard to this finding and other, similar ones, Prof. Tamar Hermann, a senior fellow at the Institute said: “If for some reason or other the Jewish public has its back to the wall and has to choose between the two components of the definition of the state’s character, it is very highly likely that the national, Jewish definition will be chosen over the definition of the regime, democratic.”
When most of the Jewish public feels the Arab-Jewish pincers closing on them to change the Jewish-Zionist identity of the state, it begins to defend itself.
Expressions aired in Nazareth or even in the Knesset, are sometimes becoming more extreme than in the Palestinian Authority. The Arab pressure is joined by those in Jewish circles that have public opinion-forming tools, such as academics and culture and media gatekeepers.
Self-defense is not racism, and when others lash out and tell this public that it is racist to demand a loyalty oath to the state as a condition for obtaining Israeli citizenship (for both Jews and Arabs ), it is even more persuaded that its fears are justified.
If the Arab public would show basic loyalty to the state, the situation would not have come about in which a third of the Jewish public – indeed a worrisome figure – supports detention camps for Arabs in wartime. If the human rights groups would fight the oppression of human rights, particularly of women, in the Arab sector as well – where the situation is much worse than in the Jewish community -
After all, this Jewish public knows that naturalization in the most liberal countries, first and foremost the United States, requires a long period of study culminating with a loyalty oath.
The Jewish public is not racist; it is anxious. And it is defending itself against the trend to change – by judicial and propaganda manipulations – the identity of the Jewish state.
The road to reducing the anxiety is not by preaching morality or by labeling self-defense as racist. The Arabs, who have led the Jewish majority to this undesirable state of affairs are the ones who must prove that these fears are groundless.more