Israel to declare itself the national Jewish state for Jewish peopleBy Mason White 11:53 AM March 18, 2013
|Jews voting in Israel’s latest election|
By: Ryan Lee Hall
After the swearing in ceremony of the new Israeli parliament, Israel will declare itself the national Jewish state of the Jewish people, in order to underline the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, according to press reports in the United States.
The move is likely to be denounced by the E.U. and some leftist elements within Israel, as undermining Israel’s democratic principles, while generating allegations of official discrimination against Muslims, who constitute about 20 percent of the Israeli population.
The proposed legislation was introduced after an agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, which will be part of a new coalition government along with two centrist parties.
It will be enshrined in the Basic Law of Israel, the country’s equivalent of a constitution, and establish the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.
“This legislation will not be seen as democratic according to normal standards,” Tamar Hermann, senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, said. “People who advocate it say that as long non-Jewish citizens of Israel have rights as an individual, it is Kosher, she added.
A similar bill introduced in 2011 by Avi Dichter, former head of Shin Bet, the domestic intelligence agency of Israel, was shelved amid a scandal over the provisions including the recognition of Hebrew as an official language.