Israel `loyalty` oath applies to Jews and non-Jews: PM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 10:55
Jerusalem: Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered that a controversial loyalty oath to Israel as a "Jewish state" be amended to apply to both Jews and non-Jews, a statement from his office said.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Justice Minister (Yaakov) Neeman to prepare a government bill that will apply the declaration of loyalty to a Jewish and democratic state also to Jews wanting to become citizens under the Law of Return," a brief statement from his office said yesterday.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed that the amendment would mean the loyalty oath would apply to everyone wishing to become a citizen of Israel, and not just non-Jews.

The proposal would be sent for approval by the ministerial committee on legislation, the statement said.

The initial proposal approved by the Cabinet on October 10 was to apply only to non-Jews wanting to apply for citizenship in a move which was widely condemned as racist by Israel's Arab minority.

It was largely seen as aimed at Palestinians seeking citizenship after marrying Israeli-Arab citizens.

However, if ministers approve this new amendment which would make the law applicable to Jews and non-Jews alike, it would make the bill similar in nature to pledges of allegiance to nation states around the world.

Under the so-called Law of Return, Jews are automatically entitled to citizenship in the state of Israel.

On Saturday several thousand Israelis, Jews and Arabs staged a protest in Tel Aviv against the initial proposal, chanting "no to fascism, yes to democracy".

A poll published the previous day said that nearly two in three Israelis, or 63 per cent, favoured the proposal approved on October 10.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 10:55

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