Israeli politicians decided to postpone by one week a planned vote on a controversial bill due to political quarrels that could possibly threaten the stability of the governing coalition, a parliament spokesperson confirmed to Xinhua.
Sunday, the Israeli cabinet voted in favour of a bill proposal known as the “Jewish nation law” after heated debate. After the government decided to adopt the proposal, the bill moves on to the parliament for several rounds of voting.
The bill seeks to stress the Jewish character of the state of Israel and reserve the rights of national determination within Israel to Jews. It also eliminates Arabic as an official language in Israel and calls for continuing Jewish communities and incoming migration, without mentioning Arabs in a country where Arabs constitute about one-fifth of the population.
The basic law has a similar status to a constitution, which, if passed, makes court justices adopt these principles during the judicial process.
The first round of voting was originally scheduled for Wednesday. However, after Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced that they and their parties would vote against it, efforts were set in motion by Israeli politicians to delay the vote, Xinhua reported.
Earlier Monday, Livni said that she intended to fight the controversial proposal.
“This law will not pass because we are not ready and I am not prepared to be a fig leaf for something so problematic,” Livni told the Ynet news website. “And if it goes (to vote) Wednesday, I will not let it pass,” she added.
The justice minister also said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will have to decide whether he will fire ministers in his government and topple his coalition over their opposition to a law that goes against a Jewish and democratic Israel”.
Lapid said that it’s a “bad law that was only drafted for the needs of the Likud primaries”, referring to the upcoming internal elections in Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, in which the prime minister wishes to appease far-right voters.
Monday, Yitzhak Herzog, chairperson of the opposition, called for Livni and Lapid to resign from the coalition and bring forth new elections, as the bill came “at times of mounting tensions and violent clashes between Jews, Arab Israelis and Palestinians”.
Over the weekend, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein slammed the proposal, saying the bill would “make a real change to the basic principles of the constitutional law… and lead to the deterioration of the democratic characteristic of the state”, according to the Ha’aretz daily.