Begin to Submit Diluted Version of Jewish State Law

The Jewish State Law is back, Walla! News reports Thursday, but this time in a much more watered down fashion. 

Eight months after the 19th government dissolved, in part over the controversial bill, MK Benny Begin (Likud) has submitted a diluted version, called, "Basic Law: The State of Israel."

Based on a proposal identical to one submitted by former Yesh Atif MK Ruth Calderon and similar to former Hatnua MK Elazar Stern's proposal, Begin's version speaks in general tones, so as to win support from the both the Right and the Left. 

The Jewish State Law, in its most strongly worded form, relegated Arabic to a "special status" language instead of an official language, and stipulated "the right to realization of national self determination in Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people."

Begin's proposal, however, reads as follows: "Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people, based on the foundations of freedom, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel and upholds equal rights for all of its citizens." 

The second clause stresses that "Israel is a democracy," although the proposal calls for "the anthem, flag and emblem of the State and Israel to be determined by law."

Pressure now falls on left-wing parties Zionist Union and Meretz to support the law and grant Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this long sought after achievement, or else resist and be subject to public scrutiny. 

Netanyahu has tried to pass some form of the Jewish State Law for his past two terms, and with Begin's proposal, which it appears most of the coalition will rally around, his chances of success are strong. 


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