November 30, 2023

Yesh Atid MK Merav Cohen submitted amendments to the Nation-State Law on Monday night in an effort to expand the law to include equal rights for all citizens. Cohen’s first proposed amendment would further characterize Israel as “a home with equal rights for all its citizens” in the nation’s core principles as the Jewish state. The existing law defines Israel as the historical home of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation-state, without mentioning equal rights for minorities as the Declaration of Independence does. Cohen seeks to adjust the section of the law that classifies Hebrew as the official language of Israel, suggesting that both Hebrew and Arabic become official languages. Additionally, Cohen’s third amendment would add that Jewish settlement in Israel would be done “in the spirit of this basic law’s principles and for the benefit of the citizens.” These amendments were proposed following a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid by Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif demanding the Nation-State Law be amended to ensure equal rights for his community. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Coalition Chairman Ofir Katz announced that they would legislate a separate basic law to anchor the status of the Druze community in Israel. On Sunday, chairman of the Northern Bedouin Authorities Forum Amir Mazarib requested of Minister Cohen to have the Bedouin community added to the new law as well. MK Cohen’s amendments aim to include all Israel’s minorities and promise them equal rights in the Nation-State Law without legislating a separate law that would risk discrimination of minority groups.