PM Tasks Amsalem With Passing Nationality Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -
Likud MK David Amsalem, the new coalition chairman. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Likud MK David Amsalem’s first task as coalition chairman will be to secure passage of the controversial Nationality Bill.

Amsalem was appointed to replace MK David Bitan, who resigned amid an ongoing police investigation into allegations of corruption while he was in an official in Rishon LeTzion.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday night, Netanyahu called the bill “one of the most important laws to enter the history pages of the State of Israel.”

It seeks to formally declare the state of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, Yerushalayim as its capital and Hebrew as its official language (while giving Arabic “special status” as a minority language).

Netanyahu thanked outgoing whip MK David Bitan for “fulfilling his duties with professionalism and loyalty.” While stepping down as coalition whip, he retained his Knesset seat.

Amsalem will have time to prepare. No date has been set for the first reading of the bill in the plenum, though it is expected in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Bitan’s lawyer told Hadashot news that his client will be questioned three times next week by police investigators.