The nation of Israel remains a bastion in the Middle East for its democratic form of government and rights allowed to all members of society, including Arabs, to express differing views. But, a move on the part of several members of the Knesset to criminalize Arab beliefs regarding the founding of the state of Israel would undermine democracy. Many Israel Arabs regard the date of the founding of Israel as a day of mourning and term it, “nakba.” Under the proposed legislation would make criminal celebrating “Nakba Day” with sentences of up to three years for those who seek to express their disapproval of the nation of Israel.
We Americans lived through “McCarthyism” in the fifties when those who spoke liberal ideas were deemed to be “communists,” forced to sign loyalty oaths and many lost their jobs or were sent to jail. The nation of Israel is a strong democratic society and it can withstand some of its citizens celebrating a day of mourning.
Israel educators might invite Arab speakers into their schools to discuss why they are celebrating “Nakba Day” and ask permission to discuss with Muslim students why Israel should exist.