Israel’s Ministerial Committee backed a proposed a bill that would not only define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, but would also recognize the right of each citizen to “preserve his culture, heritage, language and identity.”
Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted unanimously on Sunday to endorse a bill that would officially recognize the state of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
“This is a small step for the Jewish State bill, which establishes that Israel is and will be a Jewish and democratic state, and it’s a big step toward defining our identity, not only in the eyes of the world but primarily for ourselves, Israelis—to be a free people in our land,” said sponsor of the bill, Likud Member of Knesset Avi Dichter, quoting a phrase from Israel’s national anthem (“to be a free people in our land”).
The legislation states that “the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions” and that “the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
If passed by the Knesset, the law would become one of Israel’s Basic Laws, each of which carry constitutional weight in Israel’s legal system in light of the absence of a constitution.
Although the bill distinctly defines the state of Israel as a vessel for the Jewish people to exercise national self-determination, the legislation also recognizes that “every resident of Israel, regardless of religion or national origin, is entitled to work to preserve his culture, heritage, language and identity.”
The bill also says that “the state may allow a community, including members of the same religion or national origin, to have separate communal settlements.”
In addition, Arabic would no longer be an official language in Israel but would instead have “special status” allowing speakers of the language the “right to accessible state services.”
By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News