Two bills submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday would legislate Israel’s Jewish character and as a democratic state.
A bill proposed by coalition chairman Likud Knesset Member Yariv Levin and Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked would create a Basic Law declaring that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and does not recognize it as a national homeland of any other people. It confirms that Israel is a democracy and says that the country will uphold the rights of all of its citizens no matter what religion.
The bill submitted by Ruth Calderon of the Yesh Atid Party calls for the Declaration of Independence to be adopted as Basic Law. According to the Declaration of Independence, Israel is defined as a democratic state of the Jewish people.
A similar bill was proposed in the last Knesset by former lawmaker Avi Dichter of the Kadima party, though that bill called for Hebrew to be the country’s only official language.
The political significance of the bills would be to preclude any possibility for Israel to accede to Palestinian Authority demands that the country allow the immigration of approximately five million Arabs who live in foreign countries and claim Israel as their home.