Netanyahu seeks to add ‘Jewish state’ to Israel’s Basic Law

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen via Wikimedia Commons.

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to codify Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people” in the country’s foundational legislation.

“It is my intention to submit a Basic Law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the national state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said during a ceremony marking Israel’s Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. 

Netanyahu also insisted that the new Basic Law would respect the rights of non-Jewish minorities in Israel.

“The State of Israel will always preserve full personal and civil equality for all citizens of the State of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike, in a Jewish-democratic state,” Netanyahu said.

Unlike the U.S., Israel does not have a formal written constitution, but instead operates on a series of “Basic Laws” passed since the country’s foundation in 1948, which form the basis of Israeli constitutional law. 

Posted on May 1, 2014 .