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Cabinet Passes Controversial ‘Jewish Nation’ Bill Defining Israel as a Jewish State

isflJust In: The cabinet has approved the bill in a 15 to 7 vote a short time ago.

The ‘Jewish Nation’ Bill proposed by MK (Likud) Ze’ev Elkin has been embraced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The bill calls to define the State of Israel and the Hebrew language as the nation of the Jewish People and the official language, while Arabic is still listed as a “special” albeit non-official language. The bill states that first and foremost Israel is a Jewish country and then democratic.

The language used is almost identical to versions backed by others including Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), Yariv Levine (Likud) and Robert Elituv (Yisrael Beitenu), “The State of Israel is the home of the Jewish People in which it realizes its aspirations to self-determination according to the cultural and historical heritage”.

This elicited the ire of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who enjoys the backing of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. Livni insists that she has and will continue to back the principles signed in the nation’s Declaration of Independence and this current initiative, which discriminates against the Arab citizens, is unacceptable and an affront to them.

Livni used her rank as Chair of the Ministerial Legislative Law Committee to block the bill. The prime minister retaliated by announcing he was going to bypass the committee and present it directly to the cabinet for a vote. The version prepared for Sunday Rosh Chodesh Kislev, unlike the so-called “right-wing version”, is already and amended version, which stated Israel is democratic Jewish nation that abides by its Declaration of Independence and stresses the “democratic and Jewish” aspects and not the “aspirations for self-determination of the Jewish People” aspect.

Livni however remains unsatisfied, seeking a version that states the nation guarantees equal rights for all its citizens regardless of one’s ethnicity or religion. She attacked the bill on her Facebook page on motzei Shabbos. Weinstein is doing his best to knock it down as well, releasing a harsh legal opinion against the legitimacy of the bill.

The Arab National Democratic Assembly party announced the prime minister’s bill is yet another attempt to drive Arab citizens out of the country.

Prior to the weekly cabinet meeting the prime minister released the following comment to the media regarding the Nationality Bill.

“Today, I will submit to the Cabinet the nationality law and the principles that I believe need to guide this legislation. The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People. It has equal individual rights for every citizen and we insist on this. But only the Jewish People have national rights: A flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to the country, and other national symbols. These are granted only to our people, in its one and only state.

“I hear from people who say ‘Who needs this law? We’ve managed without it for 66 years.’ And I ask: Who needed Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty? We managed without it for 45 years. But both are necessary. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic. And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.

“This law is also needed now for another reason: There are many who are challenging Israel’s character as the national state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians refuse to recognize this and there is also opposition from within. There are those – including those who deny our national rights – who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev. Neither do I understand those who are calling for two states for two peoples but who also oppose anchoring this in law. They are pleased to recognize a Palestinian national state but strongly oppose a Jewish national state.

“On the eve of last Independence Day, I stood in the hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Tel Aviv and I promised to submit this legislation to the Cabinet and I am doing so today. I have not softened it and I have not changed anything. I have submitted the principles of the law that I believe in, the same principles that appear in the Declaration of Independence, the same principles that I absorbed in the Zionist sprit from my father, who absorbed them from Ze’ev Jabotinsky and from Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl.

“Around the nationality law, and around other issues, I hear ultimatums, diktat and threats of quitting from various parts of the coalition; a country cannot be run this way. We must concentrate on strengthening security against waves of extremist Islam and the Iranian nuclear danger, on strengthening Israel’s economy and increasing citizens’ welfare – and not on threats. I believe that the heads of the parties in the coalition will unite and work in this spirit.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

5 Responses

  1. Why is calling it a Jewish state discriminatory? Isn’t that the foundation upon which modern Israel was founded? And besides – WHO exactly is discriminating in Hevron?

  2. Jewish Nation Jewish State – with asimilation on the high – jewish girls in the hundreds have arab friends – gerus shelo al pi halacha – more and more goyim living in Israel so just change the fake name

  3. There are 22 Arab states. Maybe Livni and her friends should go live in one of them, instead of trying to destroy the only Jewish state there is.

  4. @Autyar, you took the words right out of my mouth.
    Let her go live in an Arab nation for five minutes, and then she will see what discrimination really is, both as a Jew and a woman. Stupid liberal Jews trying to do tikun Olam in all the wrong ways. That’s what happens when you try to have compassion without Torah.
    Isn’t Israel getting tired of seeing her yet? It’s time to put her out to pasture with Hillary.

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