Knesset to Hold Vote on Nation-state Bill During Recess

The controversial law, to be advanced during parliamentary recess, would compel High Court to favor Israel's Jewish character over democratic one

Jerusalem Day at the Old City on August 13, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Members of a special committee set up to promote the nation-state bill were invited to two sessions in September. Last month a stormy session illustrated the extent of controversy over this bill within the coalition.

The Knesset is expected next month to advance the nation-state bill even though the Knesset is in recess. Members of a special committee set up to promote the controversial bill, which compels the High Court of Justice to favor the Jewish character of the state over its democratic one, were invited to two consecutive sessions, which will be held in September.

MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), deputy chairman of this committee, told Haaretz that “the coalition will ultimately arrive at an accepted version but this will require concessions. The version that will be presented will include some compromises.” Slomiansky confirmed that a series of controversies is making it difficult for the government to formulate an agreed-upon version.

According to Slomiansky, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to present the bill for a vote before the Knesset recessed last month, but because this law is exceptional in its scope and implications, it could not be prepared after a rush session. “A serious discussion of this law needs to be held,” said Slomiansky. “It’s unthinkable that we’d bring forward such a significant basic law in a slipshod manner. Many discussions need to take place and many opinions must be heard.”

Last month the committee held a token first session regarding the advancement of the bill. It highlighted the extent of controversy among coalition factions.