Conference Call: Proposed Basic Law - Israel as the Nation-S...

Conference Call: Proposed Basic Law - Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People

Dec 3, 2014 12:00pm


Both the content and timing of the proposed Jewish-State legislation have raised significant controversy within Israel and the broader Jewish world, in part leading to the dissolution of government and call for new elections in March 2015.

On Wednesday, December 3rd, Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer from the Israel Democracy Institute spoke with Task Force members about the context of this legislative effort and the controversy it raised, implications of the Cabinet approval, and status given the upcoming elections.

A Task Force update on the proposed legislation, its versions and major clauses, is available here: Basic Law Proposal: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People




About the Speaker

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer is Vice President of Research at IDI, where he has been a Senior Fellow since 1994 and currently heads the following projects: Democratic Principles, National Security and Democracy, Arab-Jewish Relations, and Proportionality in Public Policy. He is Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law and was Dean of the Faculty in 1990–1993. Prof. Kremnitzer has advised the governments of Canada, Hungary, Finland, and Thailand on reform in criminal and public law. He has been a visiting Professor at Tulane University in the US, the Central European University in Budapest, McGill University in Montreal, and Zurich University in Switzerland. In addition, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany and conducted research at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Kremnitzer has served as chairman of many public committees, including a committee on the use of force by the police that was established by the Police Minister (1994); a committee on Education Towards Good Citizenship that was appointed by the Education Minister (1996); a committee appointed by the Finance Minister and the Justice Minister to examine methods to deal with offences and misconduct of public employees (1998); and a committee to reform the Homicide Law (2011). He is also a member of the scientific advisory board of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. Prof. Kremnitzer served as chairperson of the Israeli Association of Public Law (2002–2004), as President of the Israeli Press Council (2000–2003), and as the academic head of the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University (2001–2003). In November 2012, he was elected to the board of Governors of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) of the United Nations. Prof. Kremnitzer has published extensively in the fields of criminal, military, and public law. His books deal with judicial activism; the offence of sedition, libel, official secrets, revocation of citizenship, disqualification of parties and lists, targeted killings, offences against the state, the offence of breach of trust, administrative detention, and Israel's Basic Law: The Army. He also co-authored a proposal for a new general part of Israel's penal code, which has been adopted by the Knesset. Among his awards, Prof. Kremnitzer was awarded The Humboldt Research Award for outstanding achievements in research and teaching in 2009, when he also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lucerne. In 2010, he was appointed an honorary Fellow by The Open University. In November 2012, Prof. Kremnitzer was awarded a five-year European Research Council grant for a project entitled Proportionality in Public Policy: Towards a Better Balance between Interests and Rights in Decision-Making. In December 2013, Prof. Kremnitzer began to serve as a member of a sub-committee of the Council for Higher Education's Committee for Planning and Budgeting, which has been tasked with examining extra-budgetary programs at government-funded institutions of higher education. In September 2013, he began serving as the representative of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the Ministry of Public Security's working group on measures of personal safety. Born in Fürth, Germany, Prof. Kremnitzer studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, from which he received his PhD in 1980. During 1970–1977 he served in the Israel Defense Forces, inter alia as Deputy Chief Prosecutor and as a military judge.