"We continue to lead Israel in our own way, firmly insisting on Israel's interests, on Israel's national honor and on Israel's truth. The bill will be submitted to the Knesset in the next 60 days. The bill establishes the fact that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people in its historic homeland. It enshrines our flag, our anthem, and Jerusalem as our eternal capital."
Responding to controversy the proposed bill has generated, Netanyahu stressed that "there is no contradiction between the law and the equal rights of all citizens of Israel. We believe and support it (equal rights). The two are dependent on each other. The law is a crushing answer to anyone who tries to deny the deep connection between the people of Israel and its land. The Likud will advance this law and I expect all the Zionist parties to support it."
During a visit and interview with Army Radio, President Reuven Rivlin expressed his opposition to the proposed bill.
Rivlin referred to the work of the first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, who "established the new State of Israel after 2,000 years. He made a decision and without leadership like his, I do not know if we could still reach a situation in which we established a state for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. They did not need these laws, they just had to act."
Rivlin also noted that "the Declaration of Independence is one of the most important things and it should not be diminished by enacting laws that can harm its essence. It has received moral recognition from the entire world."
In addition to Rivlin, other officials came out strongly against the proposed bill, including opposition head Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List).
"No momentary political capital and the smell of elections in the air justify the violation of what was promised in the Declaration of Independence and does not justify incitement against a minority living within us. No momentary electoral interest of any functioning public is justified by a series of legislative acts that embarrass the Declaration of Independence or Herzl's dream," said Herzog.
Zahalka referred to the law as both "racist and fascist," saying, "I oppose a regime that gives inferior status to Arabs, and I come to charge that there has been an insult to the Arabic language. You should thank God that there is another language here—Arabic and Arab culture. You come here rudely, with the perception of superiority and a crude hand and colonial racist arrogance and say 'You Arabs are not equal to us, you are inferior.'"