Bennett to US: Jewish State Law is Our Problem, Not Yours

November 25, 2014  

The US should mind its own affairs, Economics Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett stated Tuesday – especially regarding the proposed “Jewish State” law to concretize Jewish values in Israel’s legal system.

“I say to the Americans that the affairs of the State of Israel – we will manage [ourselves],” Bennett stated, speaking on IDF Radio‘s “Good Morning Israel” show Tuesday morning. “We have to deal with the implications of [the law and] what kind of country we want.”

“At the end it is our problem,” he added. “This is an internal issue and I think that no one has the right to intervene with it.” 

Bennett’s remarks surface after a statement from the US State Department implied that the “Jewish State Law” would undermine Israel’s dedication to equal rights.

“Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and all its citizens should enjoy equal rights,” spokesman Jeff Rathke stated Monday. “We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles.”

The ‘Jewish State Law’ is comprised of two bills by three MKs: Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Yariv Levin (Likud), and Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home). Both bills, which are similar in their principles, effectively raise the Jewish influence on the legal system, elevating it over the “democratic” elements of Israel’s identity as a “democratic and Jewish state.”

The bills thrust the coalition into crisis, however, after the government decided Sunday upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s insistence that all coalition MKs and ministers will be bound by coalition discipline in the vote, and must vote in favor of it – despite vocal opposition from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who have vowed to vote against it. 

But Bennett predicted Tuesday that even Lapid’s and Livni’s oppositions will not will not undo the current coalition. 

“Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid know very well, that [voting ‘yes’ for the bill is] part of the coalition agreement,” Bennett said Tuesday. “The coalition agreement says that we should accept the Jewish State law.”

“What did they think – that they could demand [not to pass it], and it wouldn’t happen?” he added.

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