Following through on one of his party’s chief campaign promises Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party, the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu, say it has prepared a bill tying Israeli citizenship to the willingness to take oaths of allegiance to the current government as a “Jewish, Zionist and democratic state.”
The bill has been a top priority for Yisrael Beiteinu for years, and the party’s strong showing in this year’s election finally gave them the political clout to push it forward. The bill will, according to Lieberman “put an end to the disloyalty shown by some of Israel’s Arabs.”
Tying citizenship to loyalty to the government has drawn criticism from the nation’s Arab citizenry, from human rights advocates, and from the ultra-orthodox bloc, whose loyalty is often questioned by Yisrael Beiteinu members for their refusal to serve in the military.
If passed and put into force, the bill would amount to a de facto ban on the Balad Party, whose platform supports equal rights for all Israelis regardless of religion or ethnicity. The power to enforce the oaths would be put in the hands of the Interior Minister, however, and as that as currently Eli Yashal, the head of the ultra-orthodox Shas Party which opposed Lieberman fiercely during the election, even its passage through the Knesset would not guarantee that it would be brought immediately into force.