Rivlin: Nation-state bill runs contrary to terms laid out in Independence text

The law the president was referring to in his statement is a controversial bill seeking to demote Arabic as one of Israel's official languages.

May 10, 2017 03:17
1 minute read.
President Reuven Rivlin

President Reuven Rivlin. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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It is imperative not to deviate from what was laid down in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, President Reuven Rivlin said during a visit to Army Radio.

Rivlin, in his remarks on Monday, was alluding to a proposed Jewish State Law, which critics say would demote Arabic as one of Israel’s official languages and possibly lead to its removal from street signs and official buildings.

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“The Declaration of Independence is one of our most important documents,” said the president, “and we must not enact legislation that is detrimental to its essence and its substance.

It is a moral declaration that was accepted by the whole world.”

Part of the text of the Declaration of Independence states: “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The Jewish nation-state bill runs counter to some of these principles, said Rivlin. Rivlin is fearful that the bill would undermine the foundations of the declaration and of democracy itself.

Former justice minister Dan Meridor, who is president of the Jerusalem Press Club, at the opening session of the International Conference on Press Freedom in a Digital Era on Monday, in speaking about the hatred, nationalism and extremism sweeping the world, said that the Jewish nation-state bill “cannot be overlooked.”

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