A Land of Conflict: Law as a Means of Hegemony

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The article examines major issues embedded in and related to Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. This Law, enacted in 2018, is highly controversial both in Israel and internationally. I analyze it here through several interlocking prisms that provide a theoretical perspective on hegemonic state law, comparative law, developments in Israeli constitutional law, and the socio-political context of this Law. The article touches on national self-determination; nationality, ethnicity and national symbols; language; immigration, the right of return, and land; the status of Jerusalem; and the conflict between Jews and Palestinians since the 1967 occupation. The comparative perspective I offer here points to legal and constitutional similarities. However, the absence of equality as fundamental to the Law, and its exclusionary ethno-national core, make it highly problematic and may invite constitutional adjudication and possible-though by no means certain-judicial opinions of unconstitutionality or constitutional demands for legal amendments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalIsrael Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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