New legislation, which would have special status as a basic law, designed to ensure Israel is officially “a nation-state of the Jewish people” • MK Avi Dichter says such law is essential because Israel’s enemies are trying to deny its Jewish character.
By Gideon Allon, ISRAEL HAYOM
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to discuss Sunday a new bill that would define Israel as a Jewish state. The bill, “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” was introduced by Likud MK Avi Dichter, who is the head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. It has already garnered support from 11 MKs in the coalition.
According to the bill, the goal of the new measure is to “preserve Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people by having its values as a Jewish and democratic state become an integral part of its basic laws.”
The bill is based on a similar bill that was introduced about four years ago. The language of that bill was revised after legal experts said it might infringe the rights of minorities and undermine religious freedoms. In Israel, basic laws have been recognized by the courts as a de-facto constitution, and as such have a special status. In some basic laws, amendments to certain provisions must be made with a special majority.
Dichter said on Wednesday that the bill was “essential in light of the current state of affairs, with people both at home and abroad trying to deny the right of the Jewish people to have a national home in its homeland.” He said that those people also want to “roll back the recognition of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Dichter stressed that the “Palestinians are now openly in favor of having the nation-state of the Jewish people wiped out, but Israel, which has insisted that its adversaries recognize it as the state of the Jewish people and has justifiably asked its supporters around the world to support this demand, should not shy away from proudly claiming this identity through primary legislation.”