Photo: Gil Yohanan
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Netanyahu presents principles of 'Jewish nationhood' bill

Prime minister announces contentious legislation to be brought to government vote Sunday, as MKs clash during lively session debate.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to attend a Knesset plenum on Wednesday evening, after legislators invoked the "40 signature" rule. While the scheduled debate centered on the cost of living, MKs used the opportunity to challenge the prime minister on the "Jewish nationhood" bill.



Throughout the session, members of Knesset were called to order, with several opposition legislators being directed to leave the plenum by Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein.


Netanyahu took to the podium towards the end of the session to defend his decisions on the controversial legislation, officially defining Israel as a Jewish state, and to present the principles of his proposal. "The bill I will present will be based on Israel being a Jewish and democratic state. Israel guarantees equality of personal rights to all its citizens without discrimination based on religion, race, and gender."


  • Israel is the historical birthplace of the Jewish people and the place where the State of Israel was established


  • The State of Israel is the national home of the Jews, where they realized their right to self-determination


  • The right to self-determination in the State of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people


  • The State of Israel is a democratic state which guarantees the personal rights of all its citizens before the law


Netanyahu said the bill would be brought to a government vote on Sunday.


Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Knesset (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Knesset (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


"Now, explain to me why you disagree. Tell me. I want to know," Netanyahu said, as opposition legislators continued to shout their objections.


The Likud leader emphasized his support for the legislation officially defining Israel as a Jewish state was in part due to diplomatic considerations. "I oppose a bi-national state. Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and the Jewish people alone."


"Those who praise murderers – calling them martyrs – and incite or commit acts of terror – will not receive national insurance," Netanyahu said.


Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog (Labor) challenged Netanyahu on several issues during his turn on the podium, going as far as to warn the sitting prime minister that his fragile coalition could dismantle, leaving Labor in a position to poach his supporters.


At the end of the session, 46 MKs supported the prime minister's statement – 35 opposed the motion.


פרסום ראשון: 11.26.14, 17:41
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