Israel divided over loyalty bill

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010
Tzipi Livni opposes the bill

Tzipi Livni opposes the bill

A controversial bill requiring Israel’s non-Jewish citizens to swear loyalty to the "Jewish and democratic" state has been approved by the cabinet.

It was passed by 22 votes to eight and will now face a vote in Israel’s Knesset.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens - Jews and non-Jews - enjoy full equal rights.

“Whoever wants to join us has to recognise us."

But opponents of the bill called it a provocation and said its purpose was "to solidify the inferior status of Arabs by law".

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said the bill "doesn't contribute anything" to preserving Israel's existence "as a Jewish state with equality for all."

Jewish people who make aliyah receive automatic citizenship under the Law of Return.

Last updated: 12:40pm, October 11 2010