Knesset Backs Bill to Impose Jewish Nationalism

Knesset Backs Bill to Impose Jewish Nationalism

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 - 10:45
A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 31, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Right-wing coalition parties held an urgent session for the parliamentary constitution committee Tuesday and backed in its first reading a bill establishing Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people.”

This step comes years after a debate among the right-wing MKs about its first draft presented by the Israeli minister of interior security, Avi Dechter, former head of the Shin Bet interior intelligence.

However the MKs overcame their dispute by introducing amendments to the bill.

In the new version, some terminologies were deleted such as “democracy” and the “Declaration of Independence”, which tackles equality and human rights.

Next week, the bill will be tackled by the Knesset for approval before the elections.

Knesset members were notified Monday evening that they should attend a meeting the next day to debate the new version of the bill. They were informed that voting will occur in the same session, which is considered an exceptional procedure.

A sponsor of the bill, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin of Likud, called the committee vote “a historic step to correct the constitutional revolution that has harmed the Jewish status of the state.”

MK Bezalel Smotrich criticized the bill’s new version. “A nation-state bill from which enshrining the Jewish state, Jewish law and the holy sites were deleted, while the Arabic language has been given constitutional status,” he said.

“The coalition represents a portion of the Israeli public, not all of it. Such a nation-state bill needs to be adopted through dialogue with a majority of the public,” MK Tzipi Livni told the committee.

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