You can look at the new Jewish Nation-State Law from two angles: the message it sends to Jews, and the message it sends to Palestinians — you don’t belong here.
Arabic was an official language of the State of Israel for 70 years, two months, and five days. As of July 19, 2018, it is no longer.
There is no practical reason for the change, and, in fact, the “Jewish Nation-State Law,”
which abolished Arabic as an official language, basically guarantees that Arabic will retain all the benefits of being an official language despite being stripped of the title.
So why upend the status quo of the past 70-plus years? Sometimes what a law says
is more important than what it does.
You can look at the Jewish Nation-State law from two perspectives. There is the message it was intended to send to Jews: a positive affirmation of Israel as the Jewish nation-state; as the Jewish homeland; as the state of the Jews; a reassuring and nationalist message that says ‘this country is yours and yours alone.’
The other message, the inverse, meant for Palestinians, is: this is not your land; this country does not belong to you, irrespective of whether you are an Israeli citizen living in the home of your great-grandparents or a refugee yearning to return
to the land of your grandparents; your culture, language, and history are at best tolerated — this is not their home, this is not your homeland.
The Jewish Nation-State Law states, implicitly and explicitly, that Israel belongs not to all of its citizens, over 20 percent of whom are not Jewish. Instead, it declares that Israel belongs to the Jewish people, some half of whom are not Israeli citizens.