Mazuz´s JNF Decision is Not Binding (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/27/05)
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The Jewish National Fund is no longer only Jewish – according to
Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz. Contrary to press reports, however,
no decision has yet been made.
Mazuz met with officials of the Jewish National Fund Wednesday to
determine the State´s response to a lawsuit against the JNF. The
Adalah Arab rights group in Israel and other civil rights
organizations sued for the annulment of the Israel Land
Administration´s policy of allocating state-owned lands to the JNF.
JNF land-sale tenders are only open to Jews, in accordance with the
organization´s goals of acquiring the Land of Israel for the Jewish
"Poor Jews all over the world used to put their last coins in the
little blue JNF boxes to buy land for the Jewish People," said
commentator Uri Dan today.
Mazuz expressed his opinion that the JNF is no different than the
Israel Land Administration (ILA) – a government body - in that both
must treat every citizen equally.
Justice Minister Tzippy Livny, however, said that this is not a final
decision, nor is his opinion accepted by all. "My opinion, for
instance," she said this morning, "is that the JNF is not bound by
the same guidelines as the ILA." In any event, she emphasized, the
issue has not yet been decided.
JNF Chairman Yechiel Leket confirmed Livny´s view of both the JNF and
of the legal situation: "From our standpoint, there has been no
change in the State´s stance regarding the lands. We are a Jewish
state, and not a ´state of all its citizens,´ and this is how it
The issue, however, will likely be decided in the Supreme Court, and
Chief Justice Aharon Barak´s position is well-known. Barak told the
World Zionist Congress in 2002 that the principle of equality of Jew
and Arab is the embodiment of the Zionist ideal: "The claim has been
voiced that imposing the principle of equality amongst Jews and Arabs
is the end of Zionism or that it is an expression of post-Zionism.
There is nothing more erroneous than such a claim. Zionism is not
based on discrimination between Jew and Arab."
Barak also said that his Supreme Court´s controversial ruling forcing
Jewish communities to allocate land to Arab citizens who wish to live
there "is not anti- or post-Zionist. It is a Zionist ruling in the
true sense of the term. It is the embodiment of Zionism, which seeks
to see Israel as the National Home of the Jewish People, between
whose walls exists complete equality of all its residents."
MKs responded forcefully to the news of Attorney-General Mazuz´s
position. MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) said that the
JNF lands "don´t belong to the State of Israel, but rather to the
Jewish People." His party colleague Sha´ul Yahalom remarked, "The
Attorney-General does not have the authority to corrupt the desire of
all the donors throughout the generations whose intention it was to
help the Jewish Nation purchase land. The JNF was established to
redeem tracts of the Land of Israel for the Jewish People alone."
MK Ran Cohen (Meretz): "The decision´s importance lies in its
recognition of the long-standing discrimination... Finally, justice
is being done towards the citizens of the State of Israel."
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said, "Mazuz has an agenda that in
the end will turn Israel into a bi-national state."
Responding to a proposal to legislate a Basic Law against decisions
such as the one in question, Eldad spoke very forcefully with Arutz-7
"Without a Constitutional Court, every Basic Law is just a tool in
the hands of the extreme-left judicial tyranny in Israel to take the
State of Israel and turn it from the state of the Jewish People to a
binational state. It would be better if we would not try to make a
law every time one of the leaders of this judicial establishment
changes over from Zionist to pro-Arab...
"Mazuz is just one step away from nullifying the Law of Return [which
stipulates the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel and become a
citizen – ed.], and in my opinion, that is his intention. The Law of
Return is no less un-democratic than the law stating that the JNF´s
lands belong to the Jewish People...
"If the remnants of Zionism in Israel don´t wake up and realize that
this is the State of the Jewish People and that we are breaking it up
with our hands, then apparently we don´t deserve a state."
Eldad said it would be appropriate for Prime Minister Sharon to fire
Mazuz, "but there is no chance that this will happen. After all,
Mazuz is the one who saved Sharon from being tried for his role in
the Greek Island affair..."
MK Meir Porush (Agudat Yisrael): "This is a pitiful decision, and
basically says that Israel has lost its status as a Jewish State."
Labor Knesset faction head MK Eitan Cabel congratulated Mazuz for
his "courageous decision putting an end to years of discrimination
that clouded relations between Israeli-Arabs and the State."
Atty. Yoram Sheftel said, "What, the Jewish People don´t have a right
to establish a body to buy land in the Land of Israel for the Jewish
People?!" (IsraelNationalNews © 01/27/05)
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