Bill Defining Israel As Nation Of Jewish People Likely To Become Law by the Forward

Bill Defining Israel As Nation Of Jewish People Likely To Become Law

Image by Getty Images

An Israeli parliamentary committee deliberated Monday on the final draft of legislation that would define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, AP reported.

The government says the bill will formally place into law the country’s existing status. Critics say it excludes the country’s Arab minority, which makes up about 20 percent of Israel’s population.

Israelis who oppose the bill took to the streets to protest on Saturday in Tel Aviv. The country’s ceremonial president from the ruling Likud party, Reuven Rivlin, warned against clauses that appeared to encourage segregation and devalue the Arabic language.

Some of the more discriminatory language seemed to have been scrubbed in last-minute deliberations. But the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the bill still threatened to undermine Israel’s democratic values.

A vote on the bill, which is defined as a “basic law” with constitutional standing, is expected this week. If passed, it will likely face a Supreme Court challenge.

Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence outlined its nature as a Jewish and democratic state. The bill, which has been bouncing around in various forms for years, looks to formalize the country’s core identity.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Contentious Bill Defines Israel As Jewish Nation-State

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Bill Defining Israel As Nation Of Jewish People Likely To Become Law

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close