(photo credit: Courtesy/Regavim)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit reached a compromise Sunday morning on a controversial clause in the Jewish nation-state bill, but it was immediately rejected by Bayit Yehudi.
The controversial clause permits communities to limit themselves to people of their own religion. It was intended to counteract a Supreme Court decision that barred Jewish communities from prohibiting Arabs but permitted minorities to prohibit Jews.
The new version of the clause written on Netanyahu's behalf by the ministerial liaison to the Knesset, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, is much less specific.
"The state will encourage, establish, and strengthen Jewish settlement in a way that will make clear that encouraging Jewish settlement is a legitimate way of implementing the Zionist vision and is not unacceptable discrimination or inequality," the new clause reads.
Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich expressed outrage with the compromise and told Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi at the start of a committee meeting at the Knesset that Arab MKs had gotten Netanyahu to surrender to them.
"Those who do not know how to defend Israel as a Jewish state in a practical way should return their keys and go home," Smotrich said. "The attempts by Netanyahu and Mandelblit to castrate the bill and empty it of practical content is one surrender too many, after Netanyahu also surrendered on migrant workers and to terror attacks of incendiary kites."
Efforts continued behind the scenes Sunday afternoon to work out compromises on that clause, and another about the relationship between the state and the Diaspora. Meanwhile, MKs voted in the committee on less controversial amendments to the bill.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>