Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
“All the representatives of the Druze population were at my home to discuss the Nation-State Law... We sat and we talked,” Lapid recounted in a recording from a campaign event played on KAN Bet Radio on Monday. “I said there, and I will say it again – we will fix the Nation-State Law.”
Lapid said his party will “add a civil equality article, because of people like [the Druze] who serve in combat and deserve all their rights from the state.”
Another Blue and White candidate, Yorai Lahav Hertzanu, said in a campaign event in Modi’in on Monday that the party will change the law.
The Nation-State Law says that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and includes elements like the national anthem and the flag, as well as the Jewish calendar – anchoring them in a Basic Law, which has constitutional heft. It does not contradict existing laws regarding civil rights.
However, critics have said that declaring Israel to be the nation-state of the Jewish people detracts from the status of non-Jewish citizens.
Blue and White’s candidates have given mixed messages about their stance on the bill.
Party leader Benny Gantz said in January, upon encountering the same group of Druze protesters who met with Lapid: “I will do all I can to fix the law. We have a covenant of blood and of life.”
However, a month later, his top campaign strategist Ronen Tzur said in an interview with Army Radio that “there is no intention to change the Nation-State Law” and that they will reach a different solution with Druze leaders.
Zvi Hauser, another candidate on the list and a former cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is a major proponent of the law and has spoken out against changing it.
Gantz began this election in the Israel Resilience Party, Lapid in Yesh Atid, and Hauser in Telem, led by former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. The three parties merged to become the Blue and White Party last week.
Likud MK Avi Dichter, who proposed the Nation-State Law, responded to Lapid’s statement: “The Nation-State Law is cast in cement. We are proud of it; it won’t change.”
On Thursday, Netanyahu said that, “Lapid and Gantz are against the Nation-State Law. You know I am in favor of it. I am proud that we legislated this historic law that anchors Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
“It is not just the flag or the anthem,” Netanyahu added. “Israel is the country that all Jews can come to; it is the nation-state of the Jewish people and only of the Jewish people.
“This is the law they oppose,” he said, referring to Blue and White.
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