(July 2, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Sunday to ensure that the controversial nation-state bill passes the legislative process by the end of the Knesset’s summer session on July 22.
The bill defines Israel as a “Jewish state with a democratic regime,” rather than a “Jewish and democratic state.” It requires the state to preserve the country’s Jewish character and protect state symbols and sacred Jewish sites according to Jewish tradition. If enacted, it will become one of Israel’s basic laws, which have been recognized by the courts as a de facto constitution.
The legislative proposal has encountered fierce objection from the opposition, but it has also seen coalition lawmakers lock horns over its wording.
The ultra-Orthodox parties oppose the current draft over the proposed bill’s potential status as a basic law, as well as over the fear that every article may be challenged and misinterpreted by the High Court of Justice in future proceedings.
United Torah Judaism has warned that the current draft could lead to “distorted and dangerous” High Court rulings in the future.
Knesser member Avi Dichter of the Likud Party, who sponsored the bill, welcomed Netanyahu’s announcement.
“This is a prominent Likud bill and a very significant legislative proposal for the State of Israel,” he said. “The coalition partners are aware that the for them to pass their bills depends on passing the nation-state bill first.”
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who alongside Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked heads the special ministerial committee tasked with drafting the law, said on Sunday that he will meet with the heads of the coalition factions later in the week to discuss revisions that would facilitate passing the bill.
“The nation-state bill is one of the most important legislation proposals the Knesset has ever dealt with,” said Levin. “It expresses the deepest foundations of Zionism and the foundations on which the State of Israel was built.”