The Jews are so old as a group, they may be the only ones left still embodying the ancient combination of religious group and nation. Spending centuries dispersed among other nations played up the religious aspect. The ability to live on equal terms (well, sort of) as members of European host nations (though never in the Muslim world) encouraged some Jews to reaffirm their nationhood, and create the political movement of Zionism. Having a national state adds further complexity to the story.
The non-Jewish Israelis, be they Russian speakers who arrived as descendants of Jews, or African, Asian or South-American laborers who came to replace Palestinians too busy with intifadas to be reliable workers, there's a largish number of young people who have grown up in Israel, speak Hebrew as their natural language, and regard themselves as Israelis. Unlike the fanatics at either end of the political spectrum, they join the large majority of their peers as proud Zionists, eager to serve in the military and then live their lives here.
It's my opinion - not shared by all - that people such as they, obviously members of the Jewish nation, should be accepted fully, and we'll have to find a reasonable solution to the entry on the religious track.