Netanyahu: Speed Up Legislation of Israel's 'Nation-state' Bill

The controversial bill holds that Israel is 'the national home of the Jewish people' and that the right to realize self-determination in the state is unique to them

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on May 3, 2017.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called to expedite the legislation of the nation-state bill during a meeting of Likud ministers on Sunday.

The controversial bill holds that Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people” and that the right to realize self-determination in the state is unique to them.

It further revokes Arabic as an official language, though “its speakers have the right to language-accessible state services.” The bill does not subordinate democracy to the state’s Jewish character, as did an earlier version. 

On Wednesday, the bill passed its preliminary Knesset reading when 48 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, including Netanyahu, and 41 opposed it after a heated debate.

If the nation-state bill is enacted, it would become a basic law, joining the central body of legislation equivalent to a constitution.

After the vote, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced the government is to present a new version that will be more acceptable to all coalition members within two months.