‘Jewish law’ clause dropped from nation-state bill

The draft still includes a clause that demotes Arabic from being an official language to being one with "special status."

February 20, 2018 19:45
1 minute read.
‘Jewish law’ clause dropped from nation-state bill

Jerusalem . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The latest draft of the Jewish nation-state bill, released on Tuesday, removed a call for judges to refer to Jewish law and preserves the status of the Arabic language.

The draft, which is set to be brought to a vote on Wednesday in the special committee for the bill, removes or softens two of its most controversial elements.

The idea behind the proposed Basic Law: Israel – the nation-state of the Jewish people, is to declare what is in its name and include ideas of what that entails, including the national anthem and state symbol, having Saturdays and Jewish holidays as national days of rest, the right of any Jewish person to become a citizen, a commitment to Diaspora Jewry and more.

Special committee chairman Amir Ohana struck the words “Jewish law” from the article stating courts should consider it if there is a case with no legal precedent, leaving only “the principles of liberty, justice, integrity and peace of Jewish tradition.”

As for the articles regarding language, the draft still includes the contested statement that “Hebrew is the language of the state,” while “Arabic has a special status in the state [and] its speakers have a right to language accessibility in state services.”

However, the latest draft includes a new sub-article, which states that the law will not detract from the current status of the Arabic language.

The section about Diaspora Jewry says Israel will work to strengthen ties between Israel and the Diaspora and preserve Jewish culture, history, religion and heritage among Diaspora Jews.

An article in that section says: “The state will take care to ensure the security of the Jewish people and its citizens in trouble and captivity because of their Judaism or citizenship.”

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