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Israel divided over loyalty bill

    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.

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