Israel PM defends plans for law on Jewish state

2014-05-04 21:15
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File, AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday moved to defend his plans to enshrine Israel's status as the national homeland for the Jewish people in law.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the aim was to "anchor" in law Israel's status and ensure it would remain a Jewish state following any peace deal with the Palestinians.

"There are those who do not want Israel to be defined as the national homeland for the Jewish people," he said in remarks broadcast on public radio.

"They want a Palestinian national homeland to be established here next to us, and that Israel be gradually turned into a bi-national Jewish-Arab state within our reduced borders," he told ministers in a reference to Israel's Arab minority who number just over 20% of the population.

Netanyahu and others in the rightwing camp have long expressed fears that following the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israel's Arab citizens would seek to press their own claims for territory in the northern Galilee and southern Negev regions.

"You cannot say we want to break away from the Palestinians to prevent a bi-national state - something which has a certain logic - and at the same time give your blessing to a bi-national, Jewish-Arab state within Israel's permanent borders," he said.

"Israel gives full equal rights to all of its citizens but it is the national homeland of just one people - the Jewish people."

Throughout the most recent round of peace talks, which ended in crisis on Tuesday with the sides bitterly at odds, Netanyahu demanded such recognition from the Palestinians, insisting it was a core issue of the conflict.

The Palestinians have refused.

For them, accepting Israel as a Jewish state would mean accepting the Nakba, or "catastrophe", that befell them when 760 000 of their people fled or were forced out of their homes in the war that accompanied Israel's establishment in 1948.

Israel's Arab minority are the descendants of the 160 000 Palestinians who remained on their land after 1948.

According to figures published ahead of independence day, which is marked from sundown on Monday, Israel's population stands at 8.2 million, the Central Bureau of Statistics said.

Of that figure, 75%, or 6 135 000 people, are Jewish, while Arab Israelis account for 20.7%, or 1 694 000 people.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
28 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are active, busy and on a mission today. There may be a special person you wish to entertain and may put in the extra effort...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.