The initially proposed change to Israeli Basic Laws, which would label the nation as a “Jewish state” is back today, and this time without the promises of equal rights for ethnic minorities. The bill got through the cabinet today, and moves on to the parliament at large for a vote.
That’s where things get difficult, and potentially explosive, as the bill, loudly demanded by the far-right and endorsed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is opposed by not only a large chunk of the opposition, by some centrist parts of the coalition as well.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have both promised to oppose the bill, which might be enough to put the kibosh on it, and might also lead to their being expelled from the coalition.
If that happens, which Livni thinks is virtually certain, it would put Netanyahu in a position to try to find replacement coalition partners or, more likely, order early elections.
Various versions of the “Jewish state” bill have floated around for years, most trying to moderate the policy with addendum. The most extreme version of those was the one rejected last week, and today’s version is basically a carbon copy with all moderating addenda removed.