Yesh Atid to propose its own nation-state Basic Law

Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid says his party is proposing its own Jewish nation-state bill — the version formerly presented to the Knesset by Likud MK Benny Begin.

“I urge Likud, not for the first time: Don’t go down the path of dividing the nation, but rather unify the nation,” Lapid says at the start of his party’s weekly Knesset meeting. “Let’s advance the nation-state bill together.”

The government is currently backing a version of the bill proposed by Likud MK Avi Dichter.

Begin’s version is a paragraph-long affirmation that Israel is a Jewish nation-state, while Dichter’s longer text explains that the law is intended “to protect the status of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in order to anchor in Israel’s Basic Laws the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.”

Dichter’s proposal includes over a dozen specific articles that give constitutional standing to Israel’s state symbols and anthem and the Hebrew calendar, as well as affirming the state’s responsibility to protect religious rights and holy sites for all religions.

Netanyahu last week said the Jewish nation-state bill would be passed into law by the end of the Knesset session in late July.

— Marissa Newman

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