President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When considering the possibility of changing the constitutional foundations of the State of Israel, it would be fitting to hold a full and comprehensive referendum, to consider the ramifications, President Reuven Rivlin said in Eilat on Tuesday night. Rivlin was addressing participants in the annual Conference of the Office of the Attorney General, and commended them for opting to dedicate this year’s conference to relations between the majority and the minorities in Israel’s population. .
He considered this to be a wise decision in the face of escalating tensions between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens.
Rivlin who was a member of the legal profession before turning to a career in politics, sided with those who believe that the Declaration of Independence is Israel’s charter and that no additional legislation emphasizing its character is required.
The Declaration of Independence – accepted as a basic charter, and meriting of declarative constitutional status by a Supreme Court ruling – emphatically states the Jewish and democratic nature of the State of Israel, he said, adding that those who had formulated the Declaration of Independence insisted that the Arab communities in Israel, as well as other groups, should not feel as Jews had felt in exile.
“Therefore, the declaration not only determines the complete equality of social rights for all its citizens, but religious, language, educational and cultural rights. The founding fathers of the State of Israel, envisioned a state whose Jewish nature and democratic nature, were as one," Rivlin stated.
A small, abhorred minority, both from inside and outside Israel undermine this fact, he said, “and so, we should ask ourselves seriously, what is the point of the proposed law?”
Rivlin questioned whether the promotion of this law, does not in fact, raise questions over the success of the Zionist enterprise. “Does this proposal not in fact encourage us to seek contradiction between the Jewish and democratic characters of the state? Does this bill not in fact play into the hands of those who seek to slander us? Into the very hands of those who wish to show, that even amongst us, there are those who see contradiction between our being a free people in our land, and the freedoms of the non-Jewish communities in our midst?”