Netanyahu face in Washington 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Speaking at a memorial service for Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that "Israel is the national state of the Jewish people, a Jewish state. But it is also a democratic state that protects the full equal rights of all its citizens, Jews and non-Jews equally."
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Netanyahu continued, "Rehavam Ze'evi was killed because he was a proud son of the Jewish people, he will be cherrished as a warrior of the land of Israel and who loved his people and was loyal to his mission," at the ceremony on Mount Herzl on Thursday.
The speech came a day after Netanyahu proposed changes to the country's Citizenship Law, which would require those seeking naturalization to declare their loyalty to Israel - a Jewish and democratic state. The proposed changes were immediately condemned by the left.
Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor) called it “infuriating and irresponsible.” He said it would encourage efforts to delegitimize Israel around the world.
Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi founded Moledet (homeland) in 1988, and served
as tourism minister when he was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists
of the PFLP at the Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel on October 17, 2001. He
resigned his ministerial position shortly before he was killed, so that
his resignation had not yet taken effect when he died.
As the leader of the most far-right party in the Knesset, his views were
extremely controversial, in particular his advocacy of a "voluntary
transfer of Palestinians" out of the West Bank and Gaza. However, he was
well known for his vast knowledge and love of the land, the history,
the people, and the State of Israel. He was the author of many
documentary books, and was appointed director of Israel Museum in Tel
Aviv in 1981.