Livni wants constitutional proposal balancing Israel’s Jewish, democratic identities

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni appointed Israel Prize winner Ruth Gavison to draft a constitutional proposal that would reconcile the country’s democratic and Jewish characters.

The proposal would be an alternative to the Jewish State Law, a bill proposed recently by the Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi parties that would give Israel’s Jewish identity supremacy over its democratic one, Haaretz reported.

“I believe that the time has arrived to draft a constitutional framework that deals with the character of the State of Israel as Jewish and democratic, and anchors the components of the identity in a balanced way, integrating these values, the Jewish and the democratic,” Livni said in announcing the appointment of Gavison, a Hebrew University law professor, which was reported Tuesday in the Israeli media.

Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the Gavison initiative.

The Jewish State Law bill’s sponsors, Likud’s Yariv Levin and Habayit Hayehudi’s Ayelet Shaked, have called on Netanyahu to support their proposed legislation, which states that the State of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people and that the right of national self-determination within Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish people.

The bill commits to upholding the civil rights of all Israeli citizens.

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