Knesset bills define Israel as a Jewish state

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two bills submitted to the Knesset would legislate Israel’s Jewish character.

The bills submitted Tuesday would define Israel as a Jewish state and as a democratic state.

Coalition chairman Yariv Levin of the Likud Party and Ayelet Shaked of Jewish Home proposed a measure that would create a Basic Law declaring that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people. It confirms that Israel is a democracy and says the country will uphold the rights of all its citizens,  regardless of religion.

The bill submitted by Ruth Calderon of the Yesh Atid calls for the Declaration of Independence to be adopted as Basic Law. The document defines Israel as a democratic state of the Jewish people.

A similar bill was proposed in the last Knesset by former lawmaker Avi Dichter of Kadima, though it called for Hebrew to be the country’s only official language.

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