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Israel cabinet rejects loyalty oath propopsal

[JURIST] The legislative committee of the Israeli cabinet [official website] on Sunday rejected a bill that would make a declaration of allegiance to a "Jewish, Zionist and democratic" Israel a prerequisite to the issuance of a national identity card. The measure was proposed last week by Knesset [official website] member David Rotem of the Israel Beytenu [official websites] party, which was the only party to vote in favor of the bill [Haaretz report]. Israel Beytenu spokesman Tal Nahum criticized [Reuters report] the vote and said that the party would continue to pursue this and similar measures. Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League [advocacy website], told the New York Jewish Week last week that the proposal was discriminatory [report], aimed at only the Arab minority.

Israel Beytenu, the nationalist party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman [official profile], recently proposed a series of controversial bills, including one that would criminalize anti-Israel statements [JURIST report] and another that would criminalize "Nakba," the practice of marking Israeli Independence Day as a day of mourning. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) [advocacy website] called the measures "draconian," saying [Jerusalem Post report] that they would diminish public discourse. Last week, the Knesset approved [JURIST report] 47-34 the preliminary reading of a bill that would punish public statements likely to "cause an act of hatred, scorn or disloyalty to the state" with one year in prison.

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