NYT Editorial Slams Jewish 'Nation-state' Bill

New York Times editorial deplores cabinet approval of the bill, claiming the law will have no useful effect.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during in his Cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during in his Cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.Credit: AP

The New York Times slammed Israel's Jewish nation-state bill in an editorial published on Monday, saying it "would seriously antagonize an already seething Arab minority and erode Israel’s standing among democratic nations."

The controversial bill, which would enshrine Israel's definition as "the nation-state of Jewish people" in law was approved by Prime Minister Netanyahu's Cabinet on Sunday, and will move to a vote in the Knesset plenum.

"In this time of high tensions and violence between Jews and Arabs, incited by competing claims to the sacred site in the heart of Jerusalem — called the Temple Mount by Jews and Noble Sanctuary by Muslims — any measure that claims a pre-eminent status for Jews can only add fuel to the fire," the editorial said.

According to the New York Times, Israel's court and laws hitherto defined the country as "Jewish and democratic," giving equal weight to both. "To go back and emphasize nationality and religion in defining the country, moreover, runs counter to the long-term movement among liberal democracies toward a more inclusive vision of a state," the editorial added.

U.S. State Department said on Monday that: "Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and all its citizens should enjoy equal rights. We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles."

Also on Monday, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman stated that, "Attempts to further codify this concept in the Basic Laws are well-meaning but unnecessary."

Economic Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Minister Naftali Bennet also addressed the U.S. State Department on Monday. "I say to the Americans that the affairs of the State of Israel - we will manage [ourselves]," he said.

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