Knesset passes law enshrining Israel as the national home of the Jewish people
Israel is the Jewish nation’s historic homeland under its unique right to exercise national self-determination. This was determined by the long-debated Basic Law carried by the Knesset Wednesday night by a 62:55 vote with 2 abstentions, after a stormy eight-hour session. The Israeli flag, menorah, Hatikva anthem, Hebrew calendar, and Jewish holidays were defined as national symbols, Hebrew as the official language, with special status for Arabic, a clause challenged fiercely by Israel Arab leaders. Another hotly-disputed clause, allowing Jewish-only communities was scrapped, and replaced by the “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
The new law further affirms that the state will be open for Jewish immigration and act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lauded the law, which has raised criticism in Israel and among some overseas Jewish groups, as “a defining moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the State of Israel.”
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