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