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Media Analyses





Haaretz Bungles Headlines on Netanyahu's Nation-State Remarks


 
May 5 -- A prominent front-page headline in the English edition of Haaretz today falsely states that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is "home" for only the Jewish people.
 
In fact, as the accompanying article by Barak Ravid itself note, the prime minister said in the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday that Israel is "the nation-state of the Jewish people -- and no other," and ensured "full equal rights to each and every citizen." (Emphasis added.)
 
The difference is vast. If Netanyahu said Israel is "home" only to the Jewish people, then he was indicating that 20 percent of Israel's population -- or nearly 1.7 million Israeli Arabs -- are not welcome or entitled to live freely in Israel as citizens with equal rights.
 
To the contrary, he stated:
The State of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Our basic laws give full expression to the democratic side of the state. We do this by providing full equal rights to every citizen in Israel. The basic laws do this via two main laws – Basic Law: Human Dignity and Libertyand Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation.
 
On the other hand, that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People is not sufficiently expressed in our basic laws, and this is what the draft basic law is meant to provide. It will define the national right of the Jewish People over the State of Israel, without infringing on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen in the State of Israel. It will reinforce the status of the Law of Return as a basic law. It will anchor in a basic law the status of the national symbols – flag, anthem, language and other aspects of our national experience. These aspects are under a constant and increasing assault from abroad and at home. But the foundation of the existence of the State of Israel stems from its being the national home of the Jewish People and from the Jewish People's deep links to the Land of Israel.
 
Of course, there are those who do not want the State of Israel to be defined as the nation-state of the Jewish People. They want a Palestinian nation-state to be established alongside us and that Israel should gradually become a binational, Arab-Jewish state inside shrunken borders. But I simply say that one cannot hold the national stick at both of its national ends. They cannot say that they want to separate from the Palestinians in order to prevent a binational state, which has a certain logic, and also sanctify a binational, Jewish-Arab state within the permanent borders of the State of Israel.
 
The State of Israel provides full equal rights, individual rights, to all its citizens, but it is the nation-state of one people only – the Jewish People – and of no other people. And therefore, in order to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People, I intend to submit a basic law that will anchor this status. The new law will be formulated in dialogue with all components of the coalition so that the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state are preserved. . . . (Emphasis added.)
 
(The Hebrew text is available here. The English was provided by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser.) Thus, Netanyahu's desire to enshrine Israel as the "nation-state" of the Jewish people relates to national symbols such as the flag and anthem, not to the personal, civil rights of individuals.
 
The erroneous claim that Netanyahu stated that Israel is "home" only to the Jewish people appears also in the online article's top headline, while the subheadline accurately conveys the prime minister's message about the Jewish nation-state:
 
 
In addition, Haaretz's Facebook page provides a link to the article which correctly refers to the prime minister's initiative "to enshrine Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people exclusively," but the accompanying photo caption erroneously states that Netanyahu said Israel is "home" only to the Jewish people.
 
 
Further expanding the reach of the Jewish "home" falsehood, Haaretz tweeted to its 132,000 followers:
 
 
CAMERA's Israel office has called on editors of Haaretz's English edition to correct the egregious headlines, perhaps the result of a poor translation. (For more on "Haaretz, Lost in Translation," see here.) Stay tuned for an update about a correction of this gift to haters of Israel.
 
Update: Window into Haaretz Thinking
 
In a noteworthy postscript to this story, we note that Haaretz's Hebrew edition links to the bill that Netanyahu is backing to enshrine Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Speaking volumes, the url for the pdf file includes the word "racist."
 

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