Ethnicity cannot be listed as Israeli, Supreme Court in Israel rules

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a request to allow a group of Israelis to register their ethnicity as Israeli rather than Jewish.

The three-judge panel, led by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, ruled Wednesday that there is no such thing as an Israeli ethnicity and that the court did not have the authority to determine ethnicity or statehood, according to reports.

The decision upheld a 2008 ruling on the case in the Jerusalem District Court.

The lawsuit was spearheaded by Uzzi Ornan, 90, who in 1948 refused to be registered as Jewish and decided more than a decade ago to change his ethnicity to “Israeli.” Other appellants included activist Uri Avnery, former left-wing politician Shulamit Aloni, singer Alon Olearchik and playwright Joshua Sobol, along with two professors, Itamar Even-Zohar and Yosef Agassi.

The group argued in its appeal that an Israeli people was formed with the establishment of the State of Israel, according to Haaretz.

Following several legal challenges in recent years, Israeli identity cards no longer list ethnic identity.