Monday, January 12, 2004

More of the same
I’ve finished the short version of the report of the recommendations of the Orr Judicial Commission of Inquiry (Hebrew link). I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was particularly moved by paragraph 55, in the final note (my very humble translation):

The Commission stressed that co-existence places demands that are not easy for both sides. It requires each side to listen to the other, to understand its sensitivities and to respect its basic rights. The Arab citizens should remember that Israel is the realization of the yearning of the Jewish People for a state of its own, a sole state in which Jews are the majority, a state that is fundamentally a gathering in of exiles for the Jews in it, and that that is the essence of the state’s existence for its Jewish citizens. The state’s Jewish nature is a constitutional given that is expressed in, among other things, the centrality of Jewish heritage and the Hebrew language in public life.

At the same time, the Commission pointed out, the Jewish majority must remember that the state is not exclusively Jewish, but also democratic, and as such – as has been said above – equality is one of the central bricks in the constitutional structure of the state, and the prohibition of discrimination applies to all the citizens of the state. The majority must understand that the events that turned the Arabs into a minority were a national disaster for them, and that their integration into the State of Israel involved them making painful sacrifices. It must respect their identity, culture, and language. The Commission stated the possibility of expressing in public life what is common to all the population, by adding appropriate state events and symbols. It stressed the need to find ways to strengthen the Arab citizens’ feelings of belonging and connection to the state, without adversely affecting these citizens’ affinity to their culture and to their community.

Tomorrow I’ll start on the full report. I’m ready for “the committee's brilliant analysis of the processes that led to those riots” that Herzog Junior promises me.