US: Israel must preserve its democratic character

November 25, 2014 02:00

A Knesset vote on the bill was delayed by a week, amid a coalition crisis.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem November 23. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The United States on Monday reacted to the controversial nationality law approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet this week, highlighting the importance of Israel maintaining its democratic character.

Though the legislative process is still ongoing – a Knesset vote on the bill has been delayed until next week amid a coalition crisis – State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the US expected Israel to preserve its "commitment to democratic principles," no matter the "shape and final outcome."

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Rathke, speaking to journalists in Washington, reiterated a long-held belief of the Obama administration – that "Israel is a Jewish and democratic state in which all citizens should enjoy equal rights."

Referring to the public interest the legislation has aroused both within the Jewish state and beyond, the spokesman said he hoped any final vote would "continue" to align with US views which remain "unchanged."

Although a final say by the Knesset was postponed, Netanyahu has promised to push forward with the "Jewish state bill," with or without his coalition partners' backing.

The bill aims to cement the Jewish nature of the state in law, a move Netanyahu says will keep intact the rights of all Israeli citizens.

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