Netanyahu tells cabinet: Democracy is the soul of Israel

On Citizenship Law, PM stresses the need to recognize Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."

October 10, 2010 12:46
1 minute read.
Netanyahu speaks at Sunday's cabinet meeting

Netanyahu cabinet meeting 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke out against those who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state during a weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. "The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People and is a democratic state in which all its citizens – Jewish and non-Jewish – enjoy fully equal rights...To my regret, today, there are those who are trying to blur not only the unique connection between the Jewish People and its homeland, but also the connection between the Jewish People and its state," he said.

Netanyahu's remarks came amid cabinet discussions on whether to accept a proposed amendment to the Citizenship Law.

Barak: Willing to vote for loyalty oath if changes accepted
Loyalty oath to 'Jewish state' set to be approved

Netanyahu was set to bring to the cabinet on Sunday the wording of a new loyalty oath to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” that naturalized citizens not making aliya under the Law of Return will be asked to make.

During the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu added that, "Democracy is the soul of Israel and we cannot do without it...There is no other democracy in the Middle East. There is no other Jewish state in the world.The combination of these two lofty values expresses the foundation of our national life and anyone who would like to join us needs to recognize this."

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 pledge.

Netanyahu also marked the beginning of the academic year during the cabinet meeting, stating that the year's objectives focus on "fostering excellence and encouraging the periphery".

The prime minister highlighted a government plan to bring back Israeli scientists and researchers from abroad as well as cabinet-approved tuition payments for discharged soldiers that will cover their first year of study.

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