Coalition Rewrites Controversial Clause in ‘Jewish State’ Bill

jewish state bill
MK Naftali Bennett (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Contentious Clause 7 will have to go.

That appears to be the decision of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who reportedly reached agreement to changing the clause in the “Jewish State” bill which “authorize[s] a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community.”

The line has aroused vociferous opposition from the Israeli left, President Reuven Rivlin, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and the European Union. Thousands of demonstrators were in the streets in Tel Aviv on Motzoei Shabbos to protest the bill.

Negotiations between Netanyahu and Bennett, both backers of the bill, yielded a new text to replace the abovementioned: “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation,” it reads.

The vague formulation has the approval of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, making its passage more likely.

Bennett said that the new version will be voted on in the Knesset before the end of the current session on July 22.

But opposition MKs called for the debate and vote to be held off, citing the precarious security situation in the south.

“The south is burning, dozens of sirens sounded last night and today, and the situation may further escalate. I call on the coalition and the committee to cancel the meeting that was intended for the vote on the national law, and to unite to protect the south,” MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp) tweeted.

Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg tweeted that “when the government has no solution in Gaza, it enacts racist laws.”