President Rivlin: Nation-state bill ‘liable to harm the Jewish people‘

President Reuven Rivlin wrote a letter addressed to the Knesset and members of the law-making committee criticizing a section of the nation-state bill on Tuesday morning.

The Jewish nation-state bill is a draft Basic Law with constitutional heft that declares Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. It would anchor in law the state’s menorah emblem, Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, national holidays and the right of all Israeli residents to preserve their heritage without consideration of religion and nationality.

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Future components of the bill, which are subject to omission and revision in future readings of the bill, include that Hebrew will be the official language of the state, with Arabic receiving a unique status.

The letter was sent to the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset, the Chairman of the Committee and it‘s members.

In his letter, the president expressed concerns regarding section 7b of the law: "The State may allow the community, including members of one religion or of one nationality, to maintain separate communal settlement."

The president stated that this section may "harm the Jewish people, Jews throughout the world and the State of Israel."

Avi Gabay, the Chairman of the Zionist Union political party responded to Rivlin‘s letter on his official twitter account: "we shake hands with our President Reuven Rivlin. Our president is just, honest and does not forget the values on which the state was established."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the controversial Jewish nation-state bill the Likud’s top legislative goal before the Knesset disperses for its extended summer-holiday vacation next week. But he was having trouble passing it, due to UTJ’s opposition.

Gill Hoffman contribute to this report.