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Israeli high court: You can’t call yourselves Israelis

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Israel's Supreme Court issued a ruling late Thursday that says residents can consider themselves for population registry purposes Jews, Arabs and Druses — but not Israelis.

Listing "Israeli" as a state-sanctioned nationality or ethnicity on population registry lists could have far-reaching political consequences that would negatively impact the country's Jewish identity and history, the Supreme Court wrote in a ruling, The Associated Press reported.

The court was hearing the matter because 21 Israelis — most registered as Jews — asked to instead use the label "Israeli." Their argument: Jews receive favored treatment because those who self-identify as simply Israelis aren't officially recognized on government registries. So subsequent government policies naturally favor Jews, they said.

The court responded that changing existing practice and recognizing Israelis as a nationality would have "weighty implications" for Israel, and could even lead to an upheaval with the nation's founding principle — to be a Jewish nation for Jewish people.

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