Netanyahu says loyalty oath bill to be amended

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2010 4:51 PM
Netanyahu says loyalty oath bill to be amended

Israel's prime minister says his government will amend a bill requiring non-Jewish immigrants to take a loyalty pledge that Arab lawmakers have denounced as racist.

The opposing lawmakers said the original language directed only at non-Jewish immigrants undermined the rights of Israel's minority Arab community. Thousands protested the bill, which calls for an oath of loyalty to a "Jewish and democratic" Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he has asked his justice minister to amend the bill to apply to all immigrants, including Jews.

The bill also stoked tensions with Palestinians at a time when fledgling peace talks are deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on new building in West Bank Jewish settlements.