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    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

    Israel's President Opposes Jewish State Bill Promoted by PM Netanyahu

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    Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said that the nation-state bill proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu is in opposition to the founding fathers’ vision of Israeli society.

    MOSCOW, November 26 (Sputnik) – Israel's President Reuven Rivlin has said that the bill promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which would anchor in law the status of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, runs counter to its founding fathers' vision of equality for Arab citizens, reports Reuters.

    "The formulators of the (Israeli) Declaration of Independence, with much wisdom, insisted the Arab communities in Israel, as well as other groups, should not feel as the Jews had felt in exile," President Reuven Rivlin said in a speech on Tuesday.

    The declaration of 1948, while proclaiming the creation of a Jewish state, also emphasized its democratic nature and promised "complete equality" of social, religious and cultural rights for all, said Rivlin.

    While the new bill won cabinet approval on Sunday, despite the opposition of centrist ministers, several versions must still be combined and parliamentary approval is not imminent, as reported by Reuters.

    Netanyahu's draft pledges to "uphold the individual rights of all of Israel's citizens". But it also says that only Jewish people have "national rights", included the right to self-determination in Israel and to a flag, an anthem and free immigration.

    Critics say the bill is anti-democratic and legislators from the Arab community, which makes up 20 percent of Israel's population of 8.2 million, have described the bill as racist, reports Reuters.

    On being elected by parliament to the presidency in June, Rivlin, a veteran right-wing politician, who has had a rocky relationship with Netanyahu, said he would speak out on domestic issues. He ended his acceptance speech by proclaiming "Long live Israeli democracy".

    Related:

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    Netanyahu’s Cabinet Approves Bill Defining Israel as Jewish State
    Israeli Conservatives Table Legislation to Define Israel as “Jewish State”
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