MK submits bill to prioritize state’s Jewishness

Bill faces criticism from opposition MKs, who called it undemocratic, denying non- Jewish citizens equal rights.

May 28, 2013 01:31
1 minute read.

YARIV LEVIN 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Land of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People will be given judicial priority if a bill proposed by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) on Monday becomes law.

The bill faced criticism from opposition MKs, who called it undemocratic, denying non- Jewish citizens equal rights, and will lead to the annexation of the West Bank.

The bill – under the name Basic Law: Israel as the Nation- State of the Jewish People – emphasizes the Jewish character of the country and seeks to anchor its democratic government in a law with constitutional status.

“This is a Jewish state that’s a democracy, not a democracy with some Jewish elements,” Levin said. “We need to strengthen these principles, and give them legal priority.”

The legislation also calls the Land of Israel “the historic homeland of the Jewish People and the place in which the State of Israel was established,” and calls for Jewish law and tradition to inspire legislators in proposing laws and judges in making rulings.

Levin explained that currently, legal precedent gives equality priority over “Judaizing the land,” as he called it, but his bill would ensure that the Jewish nature of the Land of Israel comes first.

In addition, the bill, which is similar to a bill proposed by then-Kadima MK Avi Dichter in the previous Knesset, names Hebrew as the official language of Israel, but allows for other languages’ status to be determined in future legislation.

According to Levin, “this bill emphasizes the traditional and historic connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and our national rights to the land, as expressed in the [Declaration of] Independence Scroll.”

“The righteousness of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel is based on diplomatic, national and historic aspects and comes from the Jewish People’s right to self-determination,” he added.

MK Avishay Braverman (Labor) called the bill a disaster.

“When [prime minister] David Ben-Gurion founded the country, it was based on two principles – a Jewish and democratic state,” Braverman told Army Radio. “What is happening here is the annexation of Judea and Samaria and the deterioration of democracy.”

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