Reigniting old dispute, ministers okay new ‘Jewish State’ bill

Resuming a battle that nearly brought down the government three years ago, ministers give their go-ahead for a controversial and long-debated proposal to officially define Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation votes unanimously in favor of throwing coalition support behind Likud MK Avi Dichter’s “Jewish State Bill,” which, for the first time in Israeli law, would determine Israel to be “the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions.”

If passed in the Knesset, the law would become one of the so-called Basic Laws, which like a constitution guide Israel’s legal system and are more difficult than regular laws to repeal.

​”This is a small step for the Jewish State bill — that 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,” Dichter said in response to the decision.

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