Lieberman: Zoabi is the reason we need a loyalty oath

Arab MKs call proposed bill "the height of fascism," as well as "racist and stupid;" Israel Beiteinu denies law is in exchange for building freeze.

October 7, 2010 10:18
2 minute read.
Avigdor Lieberman and Haneen Zoabi

lieberman zoabi 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said MK Haneen Zoabi's behavior is the reason Israel needs a loyalty oath, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Zoabi's participation in the Gaza flotilla and other events, Lieberman reportedly said, explains how necessary a loyalty oath is for citizens.

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Loyalty oath to 'Jewish state' set to be approved
'I am not a Zionist, I am a Palestinian and a citizen'

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he will bring to the cabinet on Sunday a proposal whereby naturalized citizens will be asked to take an oath of loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.”

The attempts to question Israel's Jewishness make the law essential, according to Lieberman.

The foreign minister also said the proposed bill has nothing to do with the law of return, but that anyone who wants Israeli citizenship will have to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Government officials said the decision to bring the loyalty oath to the cabinet at this time is not without political and diplomatic significance, since Israel in recent weeks has countered the Palestinian demand for a total settlement moratorium with its own demand for the PA to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Arab MKs: 'The government is pushing Arabs into a corner'

On Wednesday night, MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) called the proposed loyalty oath to the Jewish state "fascist."

"The State of Israel has reached the height of fascism," Zoabi said. "It's not surprising that this law is being promoted. It fits with other racist and anti-democratic bills that have been raised in the Knesset these days."

"The government, in its racism and stupidity, is pushing the Arab citizens into a corner, and the result will be destructive," Zoabi explained.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) said that "the decision to make citizens announce their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish State is populist, lacks leadership, and its purpose is to make the Arabs' lowly position legally permanent."

Tibi added that "no declaration will get rid of the Palestinian narrative that the whole world has recognized. Netanyahu and his government are shrinking the democratic space in the land and deepening the discrimination against the Arab minority."

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) told Israel Radio that the law is racist and proposes hatred, and that if it passes, Israel can take the word "democratic" out of the oath, because the state will only be Jewish.

Israel Beiteinu: Lieberman won't agree to moratorium

An Israel Beiteinu official denied rumors that the proposed law is meant to convince Lieberman to agree to an extended building moratorium in the settlements, Israel Radio reported.

However, in an interview with Israel Radio, MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) expressed satisfaction that the bill is being promoted, as it was part of the coalition agreement between the party and Likud. He added that, as head of the Knesset's Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, he will see to it that the law is put to a vote as soon as possible.

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