Despite Livni's objections, PM Netanyahu reiterates that he intends to bring the Jewish State Law before the Cabinet.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated on Monday, Nov 17, that he intends to bring the controversial Jewish State Law to a vote in the Cabinet next Sunday - despite Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s rejection of the law.
Speaking at the start of the Likud faction meeting in the Knesset, Netanyahu recalled how on November 29, 1947 the UN General Assembly voted to establish a Jewish state in Israel.
"66 years have passed since that day, and not a day goes by without the right of Jews to a national state of their own being undermined," he added. "In Israel, every citizen has fundamental rights that are enshrined by law. However, the national right of the Jewish people in Israel is not enshrined in law.”
"On Sunday I will bring the Jewish State Law to the Cabinet, in order to provide a response to all those who doubt the right of Jews to have their own nation-state in the state of Israel. The Jewish State Law is a foundation in securing our rights in our country," Netanyahu said.
According to the Jewish State Law, which was proposed by MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and is backed by the Jewish Home party, all Jewish schools will teach Jewish history as well as Jewish tradition and heritage. Hebrew will be recognized as the only official language in Israel. Arabic, which as of now is considered an official language in Israel, will instead be given special status.
The bill also declares that the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which a Jew can exercise his desire for self-determination in accordance with his historical legacy. This right to exercise national self-determination will be provided to Jewish people only.
However, every resident, regardless of religion and nationality, will be entitled to preserve his or her heritage, culture and language.
The bill came before the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, but Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who opposes the law, removed it from the agenda by purposely wasting time at the meeting, leaving only the last few minutes for a hurried discussion of the law before announcing that the debate on it is to be put off for a later date.
Livni’s move angered members of the Jewish Home party, whose leader, Minister Naftali Bennett, announced that his party would no longer be supporting any bills proposed by her Hatnua party or by Yesh Atid party, which also opposed the law.
Livni on Monday spoke of the bill at the start of Hatnua’s faction meeting, and said, "The Declaration of Independence already determined that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. A Jewish state in which there is equality for all Israeli citizens. I am opposed to a democratic state without a Jewish state or a Jewish State without a democratic state.”
"I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister saying that he is in favor of equal rights," added Livni. "The laws of Elkin and the Jewish Home do not include this value and this word and that is why I postponed the discussion on them. We are not against a Jewish State law. We are against a Jewish State law which harms the Declaration of Independence.”