Israel throws out 'loyalty law'

2009-05-31 19:36

Jerusalem - The Israeli government has thrown out a proposal to require people to take an oath of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state or risk losing their citizenship.

Sunday's decision dealt a blow to the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The proposal was central in his election campaign last February. The party finished a strong third by playing on the perceived disloyalty of Israel's Arab citizens, roughly one-fifth of the population.

Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser said the proposal was rejected by eight votes to three on Sunday by a ministerial committee on legislation.

Yisrael Beitenu lawmakers can still try to get it through Parliament as an independent initiative, but it appears to lack majority support.