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July 2, 2018 10:28 am

Netanyahu Vows to Pass Nation-State Bill by End of ‎Knesset’s Current Session

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 27, 2018. Photo: Menahem Kahana / Pool via Reuters / File. – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Sunday to ‎ensure that the controversial nation-state bill passes ‎the legislative process by the end of the Knesset’s ‎summer session‏ ‏on July 22. ‎

The bill defines Israel as a “Jewish state with a ‎democratic regime,” rather than a “Jewish and ‎democratic state.” It requires the state to preserve ‎the country’s Jewish character and protect state ‎symbols and sacred Jewish sites according to Jewish ‎tradition. If enacted, ‎it will become one of Israel’s basic laws, which ‎have been recognized by the courts as a de facto ‎constitution.‎

The legislative proposal has encountered fierce ‎objection from the opposition, but it has also seen ‎coalition lawmakers lock horns over its wording. ‎

The ultra-Orthodox parties oppose the current draft ‎over the proposed bill’s potential status as a basic ‎law, as well as over the fear that every article may be ‎challenged and misinterpreted by the High Court of ‎Justice in future proceedings.‎

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United Torah Judaism has warned that the current ‎draft could lead to “distorted and dangerous” High ‎Court rulings in the future.‎

Likud MK Avi Dichter, who sponsored the bill, ‎welcomed Netanyahu’s announcement.‎

‎”This is a prominent Likud bill and a very ‎significant legislative proposal for the State of ‎Israel,” he said. “The coalition partners are aware ‎that the for them to pass their bills depends on ‎passing the nation-state bill first.”‎

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who alongside Justice ‎Minister Ayelet Shaked heads the special ministerial ‎committee tasked with drafting the law, said Sunday ‎that he will meet with the heads of the coalition ‎factions later in the week to discuss revisions that ‎would facilitate passing the bill.‎

‎”The nation-state bill is one of the most important ‎legislation proposals the Knesset has ever dealt ‎with. It expresses the deepest foundations of ‎Zionism and the foundations on which the State of ‎Israel was built,” Levin said.‎

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