Avi Dichter
Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Zeev Elkin
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Knesset mulls 'Jewish state' bill

MKs Dichter, Elkin present House with bill which aims to cement Israel's Jewish nature in Basic Laws

MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima) and Zeev Elkin (Likud) stand to present the Knesset with a bill seeking to cement Israel's status as a Jewish state and the Jewish people's homeland by law.


The two will present the bill, titled "basic law: The Jewish state," to the House on Wednesday afternoon.


Since Israel's inception – and with the absence of a formal constitution – the Knesset has cemented various cardinal issues in legislative acts known as Basic Laws. Once all basic laws are enacted, they will form the constitution of the State of Israel.



"The State of Israel is the Jewish people's national home, where they realize their aspiration for national definition according to their cultural and historical heritage." the bill's brief said.


"The right to realize our national definition in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people."


Dichter and Elkin have garnered 42 supporting signatures for the bill so far.


"Cementing issues that seem basic in a Basic Law has become doubly important these days, when there are those who wish to annul the Jewish people's right to have a national home in their own country," Dichter said.


The bill addresses various State characteristics, including language, State symbols, national holidays, the flag and the national anthem.


Dichter said that the bill "grants constitutional status to State symbols, which will allow the courts to deflect various partitions – that claim the Jewish symbols of the state offend some citizens' sensibilities – in an easer manner; but they were included only to cement an existing situation by law." 


One section of the bill which has already been defined as "highly volatile" and deals with the issue of language: The bill states that "Hebrew is the formal language of Israel," defining the Arabic language as having "special status" only.


"It is high time we cemented Israel's Jewish nature and symbols by law, especially given the constant attempts by anti-Zionist elements to disavow the country's Jewish and Zionist elements, which were once a given," MK Elkin said.


"This is the time to clearly declare that the State of Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and this is our basic right."


Should the bill come to pass it will be enacted as Israel's eighth Basic Law.





פרסום ראשון: 08.03.11, 12:02
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