Netanyahu Renews Efforts to Define Israel as Jewish State

September 5, 2014 8:42 PM IMEMC & Agencies Israel, Israeli Politics, News Report 0

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu intends to renew efforts at legally defining Israel as ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people’. Such a law would address ‘attempt(s) to undermine the national identity of the Jewish people and the legitimacy of the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people”.

04 September 2014 | Alternative Information Center | Sergio Yahni

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to renew efforts at legislating a basic law that will legally anchor Israel’s status as ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people’. The law was initiated last winter and as Netanyahu stated then, it aims to allow legal status to a ‘basic ingredient in our national lives”.

Basic laws are a key component of Israel’s constitutional law. These laws deal with the formation and role of the principal state institutions, and relations amongst the various state authorities. Some of these laws also protect civil rights.

Although basic laws were originally meant to be draft chapters of a future Israeli constitution, there is no clear rule determining the precedence of basic laws over regular legislation; this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system. Nonetheless, basic laws are already used on a daily basis by the courts as a de jure formal constitution.

The prime minister announced his intentions of renewing this legislative effort during a meeting Wednesday night with an association of national religious rabbis, Rabanei Tzohar.

At the meeting, Netanyahu repeated that ‘there is an attempt to undermine the national identity of the Jewish people and the legitimacy of the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people”.

The meeting with Rabanei Tzohar was initiated and organized by MK Ze’ev Alkin (Likud) in support of the prime minister after the offensive on Gaza. Attending the meeting were twenty influential rabbis, who told Netanyahu it is important to preserve the spirit of national unity unveiled recently during the Gaza attack.

See also: Netanyahu: Talmud Will be the Basis of Israeli Law

Prime Minister Netanyahu said in May, when the basic law was originally proposed, that it aims to set the national rights of the Jewish people in the State of Israel without harming individual rights.

‘The law will solidify the position of the Law of Return, and will anchor the status of national symbols: the flag, the anthem, the language and other elements of our national being. They are constantly under attack from the outside and even from home”.

The opposition and liberal members of the government opposed the proposed law.

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