barak kill 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bring to the cabinet on Sunday the
wording of a new pledge of allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic
state” that naturalized citizens not making aliya under the Law of Return will
be asked to make.
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The new declaration is expected to pass by a wide
margin. Only the five Labor ministers, and the Likud’s Dan Meridor and Bennie
Begin – out of the 30-minister cabinet – are expected to vote against the new
The ministers will be asked to vote on an amendment to the
Citizenship and Entry Law whereby the declaration naturalized citizens must make
will read: “I declare that I will be a loyal citizen to the State of Israel as a
Jewish and democratic state, and I obligate myself to respecting its
There is likely to be a debate during the meeting on the exact
wording of the pledge, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak expected to try and
“soften” it. Barak left open the possibility that he could vote for it if the
wording were changed slightly to include a reference to Israel’s declaration of
In what is expected to be a stormy Labor ministerial
meeting prior to the cabinet session, Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay
Braverman intends to demand that Barak vote against the amendment.
proposal would not benefit Israel, sends a problematic message to
minorities,and would harm Israel’s image in the world,” Braverman said.
Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog agreed that the bill would discriminate
against minorities. He called the proposal “unnecessary and wrong.”
responded that Labor ministers would be allowed to vote according to their
The declaration will not have to be made by Arab citizens nor
by new immigrants arriving under the Law of Return.
The group likely to
be impacted most by the pledge are Palestinians from beyond the Green Line
married to Israeli Arabs, and then asking for citizenship on the grounds of
family reunification. Currently there are an estimated 25,000 Israeli Arabs
married to Palestinians from beyond the Green Line.
A large majority is
expected for the bill in the Knesset after it passes in the cabinet. Braverman
intends to do everything possible to block it in the Knesset, but his spokesman
said he did not intend to quit if it passed.
“At this point, we don’t
intend to do anything bombastic,” he said.