EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giafret
Photo: Delegation of the European Union to Israel
Israel to rebuke EU envoy who spoke to MKs about nationality bill
Netanyahu orders Foreign Affairs Ministry to summon EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giafret for a reprimand after he warned members of Likud the nationality bill 'stinks of racism' and 'could hurt Israel's standing' in the international community.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday to summon EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giafret for a reprimand after he approached members of Knesset about the proposed nationality bill, warning them it could have far-reaching consequences.
In addition to the reprimand, the second issued to Giafret, Netanyahu's office said the prime minister planned to take "additional steps" against him.
"It is not enough that the EU funds NGOs that strive to undermine the State of Israel and finance illegal construction; it is now interfering with Israeli legislation. Apparently they do not understand that Israel is a sovereign state," a statement issued on behalf of Netanyahu said.
Channel 2 News reported on Thursday evening that European Union officials spoke to Likud MKs, warning them the bill "stinks of racism" and that it "hurts Israel's standing" in the international community.
"The legislation distances Israel from the acceptable norms in democratic nations," the EU ambassador said, according to one of the MKs he had spoken to. "It discriminates against groups—particularly Israel's Arabs—and harms the values the State of Israel is trying to highlight."
The MK who spoke to Channel 2 said Giafret was particularly concerned about article 7b, which would allow religious or national groups to establish communities that could exclude others.
The European Union said in response to the report: "We do not comment on private conversations the ambassador holds on a regular basis as part of his work with a variety of interlocutors on a series of topics."