Israel's president 'ashamed' of contentious bills

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2011 5:19 AM
Israel's president 'ashamed' of contentious bills

Israel's president says he is "ashamed" that lawmakers are trying to pass a string of bills he regards as undemocratic.

Shimon Peres' comments break with the presidential custom of maintaining silence on political issues.

In an interview with the Yediot Ahronot daily published Tuesday, Peres singled out bills that would slash funding to dovish groups, silence Muslim calls to prayer and tighten a defamation law in a way that could hobble investigative reports.

Peres said he was "personally ashamed that they are trying to pass those laws." The president's office says he was accurately quoted.

Supporters say the proposed legislation is a bulwark against attempts to undermine Israel's legitimacy. Critics see them as muzzling dissent.