Netanyahu wants to define Israel as Jewish state in law

Reuters News
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Posted: May 01, 2014 8:50 AM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would seek to enact a law to define Israel as a Jewish state, a step certain to raise opposition from Arab citizens who make up a fifth of the population.

"I will promote a Basic Law that will define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said in a speech in Tel Aviv that alluded to Palestinian rejection of his demand to recognize Israel as such in recent peace talks.

In lieu of a formal constitution, a series of Basic Laws adopted by parliament since Israel's founding in 1948 define governmental, legislative and judicial powers, protect civil rights and codify Jerusalem's internationally disputed status as the country's capital.

(Editing by Jeffrey Heller)