The Israeli Cabinet approved a controversial bill on Sunday, which officially declares the country to be the nation-state of the Jewish people, drawing concerns that it may undermine the rights of non-Jewish Israelis.
The law, which has yet to pass through parliament, involves firmly stating that Israel is a Jewish state, delisting Arabic as an official language, and drafting legislation based on Jewish law.
“Today, I will submit to the cabinet the [Jewish] nation-state bill and the principles that I believe should guide its legislation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet. “The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People. It has equal individual rights for every citizen and we insist on this.”
“But only the Jewish People have national rights: A flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to the country, and other national symbols,” he said. “These are granted only to our people, in its one and only state.”
Israel has a significant non-Jewish Arab populace, many of whom have expressed strong opposition to the bill.
Netanyahu also called for a bill that would revoke the residency rights of Palestinians who carrying out attacks on Israelis.
“It cannot be that those who harm Israel, those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel, will enjoy rights like social security,” he said.