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netanyahu arrives at cabinet meeting 311.(Photo by: Associated Press)
C'tee to mull Barak addendum to revised Citizenship Law
Cabinet approves law requiring loyalty oath without Labor votes; PM stresses the need to recognize Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak's suggested addendum to changes to the country's Citizenship Law that passed Sunday in the cabinet will be discussed in the Ministerial Law Committee in the next 21 days, it was announced on Sunday.

The cabinet on Sunday passed a proposed amendment to the Citizenship Law requiring new citizens, who do not fall under the Law of Return, to swear their loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."

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The measure passed with a vote of 22-8, with all of the Labor party's ministers opposing, as well as Likud’s Dan Meridor and Bennie Begin.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor), unlike most of the other Labor MKs, had expressed support for the proposed loyalty oath to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state, but asked that the language of the oath be altered to include the phrase, "in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence."

Barak's suggested addendum will be discussed before the legislation is brought before the Knesset.

Additionally, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman that his proposal the oath also be required of immigrants who fall under the Law of Return will be discussed.

During the cabinet meeting,  Netanyahu spoke out against those who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. "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," the prime minister said. He continued, "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."

Netanyahu added, "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."
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