Yesh Atid 's Ruth Calderon has submitted a bill giving the Declaration of Independence the legal status of a basic law, formally establishing Israel as a Jewish state.
The bill was proposed as part of joint efforts with the Habayit Hayehudi party on a new "nation state" bill. This is the first time the Knesset has been asked to enact into law Israel's Jewish character.
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In the explanation to the bill titled "Basic Law: The Declaration of Independence," Calderon states that "in the absence of a constitution, the Declaration of Independence is a legal document which establishes very important basic principles concerning the State's identity.
For years, courts have looked to this document when deciding on various issues and that is why we are proposing to give the Declaration of Independence which represents the state's creed, the status of a basic law."
The bill aims to formally establish that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people. However, MK Calderon stressed that the term Jewish state does not refer the Jewish religion but to the Jewish people and culture.
The State of Israel is committed to safeguarding the rights of all of its citizens, regardless of race, religion or sex, it was emphasized. "The Declaration of Independence explicitly states that Israel is envisaged as a Jewish state that is also committed to equal rights."
It was further stated, "The Declaration of Independence is a balanced, Jewish and democratic document based on the principles of justice and equality which are no less relevant today than they were at the time of its drafting. If we do not set the principles by which we want to live, they will be set for us. "
Calderon is also set to propose the "nation state bill" together with Habayit Hayehudi's Ayelet Shaked.
Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) slammed the bill and said, "We don't need laws that are designed to establish the hegemony of the majority, but need to protect the minority when racism rages. The Knesset has become a racist legislation machine."
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