This question is rooted in a presupposition, which needs to be carefully examined: that the State of Israel can only exist as a Jewish state, that is, as a state in which Jews are the overwhelming demographic majority and only Jews have full citizenship. Although Palestinians are 20 percent of the Israeli population today, they are relegated to second-class citizenship, lacking many rights and privileges enjoyed only by Jewish Israelis.
To declare Israel a “Jewish state” would mean that this discriminatory treatment is enshrined as a core value of the state itself. It would also mean renouncing the internationally recognized right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, which they were forced to leave during the creation of the state. Lastly, to ask Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state is like asking Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians to recognize the U.S. as a “Christian state.”