“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries calls on Israel to rescind its Nation State Law.

Statement of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land

 on the Nation State Law, passed by the Israeli Knesset

on July 19, 2018

In the spirit of dialogue, the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land wishes to address the issue of the Nation State Law passed by the Israeli Knesset on July 19, 2018.

According to this law, the State of Israel has legislated that the people whose “welfare and safety” it is most concerned to promote and protect are limited to the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel. We must draw the attention of the authorities to a simple fact: our faithful, the Christians, our fellow citizens, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i, all of us who are Arabs, are no less citizens of this country than our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Since the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence in May 1948, the Arab citizens of the State of Israel have noted the tension that exists in the wording of the declaration about the State being both “Jewish” and “democratic”. Whereas the ever-changing equilibrium between these two terms has been worked out predominantly by the Jewish majority, the Arab minority has been struggling against all manifestations of discrimination whenever the “Jewish” element outbalanced the “democratic” one. This has meant on ongoing struggle and careful vigilance to protect the rights of all citizens, to guarantee as much as possible the values of equality, justice and democracy. The 1992 Israeli Knesset promulgation of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Libertywas a milestone in the struggle to protect and promote these values.

However, the 2018 Israeli Knesset promulgation of the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People is a blow to these values. Although the law changes very little in practice, it does provide a constitutional and legal basis for discrimination among Israel’s citizens, clearly laying out the principles according to which Jewish citizens are to be privileged over and above other citizens. By promulgating “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation”, the law promotes an inherent discriminatory vision. In fact, other than seriously downgrading the standing of the Arab language in relationship to the Hebrew language, the law totally ignores the fact that there is another people, the Palestinian Arabs, and other major religious communities, Christians and Muslims as well as Druze and Baha’i, that are profoundly rooted in this land.

Christians, Muslims, Druze, Baha’i and Jews, demand to be treated as equal citizens. This equality must include the respectful recognition of our civic (Israeli), ethnic (Palestinian Arab) and religious (Christian) identities, as both individuals and as communities. As Israelis and as Palestinian Arabs, we seek to be part of a state that promotes justice and peace, security and prosperity for all its citizens. As Christians, we take pride that the universal Church was founded in Jerusalem and her first faithful were children of this land and its people. We recognize that Jerusalem and the whole of this Holy Land is a heritage we share with Jews and Muslims, Druze and Baha’i, a heritage we are called upon to protect from division and internecine strife.

This Basic Law contradicts the identifiable humanist and democratic strands in Israeli legislation as well as international laws and conventions to which Israel is signatory, having as their aim the promotion of human rights, the respect of diversity and the strengthening of justice, equality and peace. We, as the religious leaders of the Catholic Churches, call on the authorities to rescind this Basic Law and assure one and all that the State of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens.

The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land

+ Georges BACOUNI

Gr. Melkite Cath. Arch. of Akko
Acting  president A.C.O.H.L.

Moussa AL-HAGE

Maronite Archbishop of Haifa
Maronite Exarch of  Jerusalem

+ Pierbattista PIZZABALLA

Apostolic Administrator of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Latins

Youssef  SOUEIF

Maronite Archbishop of  Cyprus

+ Joseph  GEBARA

Gr. Melkite Cath. Arch. of Petra and

Philadelphia (Amman)

+  Michel SABBAH

Former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

President of Episc. Comm. Justice & Peace

+  Fouad TWAL

Former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

+  Boutros MOUALLEM

Former Gr. Melkite Cath. Arch. of Akka

+  Elias CHACOUR

Former Gr. Melkite Cath. Arch. of Akko

+  Yaser Al-AYYASH

Gr. Melkite Cath. Patriarchal Vicar

+  Gregoire Pierre MELKI

Syrian Catholic Exarch

+ Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA

Armenian Catholic Exarch

+  Giacinto-Boulos MARCUZZO

Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem & Palestine

+  William SHOMALI

Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan

+  Joseph Jules ZEREY

Former Gr. Melkite Catholic Patriarchal Vicar of  Jerusalem

+  Kamal-Hanna BATHISH

Former Auxiliary Bishop of  the LPJ

+  Selim SAYEGH

Former Auxiliary Bishop of  the LPJ

+ Fr. Francesco PATTON, OFM

Custos of the Holy Land

+ Fr. Hanna KALDANI

Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel

+ Fr. Jerzey KRAJ, OFM.

Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus

+ Fr. Rafic NAHRA.

Patriarchal Vicar for St James Vicariate

+ Fr. Zaid HABBABA

Chaldean Vicar General for Jordan

+ Fr. Jean-Daniel GULLUNG, AA

Director of the Committee of the Religious Men

+ Sr. Bruna FASAN

President of the Union of the Religious Superiors of Women

+ Fr. Pietro FELET, scj

Secretary General

Jerusalem, 31st  October 2018

Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem 

2018-11-05T14:48:27+00:00 November 5th, 2018|Categories: News|