UTJ puts the brakes on Jewish nation-state bill

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May 15, 2017 22:12
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have called to fast-track the legislation declaring Israel the nation-state of the Jewish People, but United Torah Judaism made sure that won’t happen.

The agreements between coalition parties and the Likud state that the government will form a committee to draft an agreed-upon version of the nation-state bill, and a UTJ spokesman said Monday that the faction plans to hold Netanyahu to that.

“There needs to be an agreement between all the factions, so we are demanding a meeting,” a spokesman for Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush said. “We are calling for the committee to really be formed so we can check [the bill].”

UTJ generally opposes Basic Laws, but the spokesman said the party is not going to veto the bill on that basis.

The Jewish nation-state bill, proposed by MK Avi Dichter (Likud), says that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People, and establishes the anthem and flag, among other things. Opposition critics say the bill gives Jewish citizens primacy, but Netanyahu and Dichter argued that it does not impinge on individual rights.
On Sunday, Netanyahu said he will forgo a government draft of the bill and promote Dichter’s version for the sake of passing it as quickly as possible.

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