The 7 Most Racist Israeli Laws

March 06, 2023

1. The Jewish Nation-State Law

  • One of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws. Stipulates that the right to self-determination in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories “is unique to the Jewish people” and encourages racial segregation and discrimination against Palestinians in housing by directing the state to promote the “development of Jewish settlement as a national value.”

2. The Law of “Return”

  • Gives Jews from anywhere in the world the right to immigrate to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and to automatically receive Israeli citizenship. At the same time, Israel denies indigenous Palestinians who were expelled during and after Israel’s establishment their legal right to return to their homeland because they aren’t Jewish and treats Palestinian citizens of the state, who comprise more than 20% of Israel’s population, as second-class citizens.

3. The Admissions Committee Law

  • Authorizes hundreds of smaller towns to set up “admissions committees” to reject applications from Palestinians, LGBTQ people, and others deemed undesirable using criteria such as being “unsuitable to the social life of the community… or the social and cultural fabric of the town.”

4. Absentee Property Law and Land Acquisition Law

  • Allows Israel’s government to expropriate land and other property belonging to Palestinians who were driven from their homes during the state’s establishment. The primary tool used by Israel to steal huge amounts of land and private property from Palestinians who were expelled and denied their right to return, including many internally displaced within Israel’s borders.

5. Israel Lands Law

  • Another of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws. Stipulates that ownership of state lands can only be transferred between the government and quasi-governmental agencies like the Jewish National Fund, which only leases land to Jews. Ninety-three percent of the land in Israel is state owned. Israel's discriminatory land policies make it extremely difficult for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship to gain access to land for residential, commercial, agricultural, or other uses.

6. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law

  • Prevents Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel from gaining residency or citizenship status, including those who were expelled from towns inside what became Israel in 1948. Forces thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to leave the country or live apart from their spouses and families.

7. The Nakba Law

  • Bans public funding for institutions and organizations involved in commemorating the violent expulsion of three quarters of all Palestinians during Israel’s establishment as a Jewish-majority state in 1948, known to Palestinians as the “Nakba” (“catastrophe”).