Arabs Outraged Over Israel's Loyalty Oath
Bill would force non-Jews to pledge loyalty to Jewish state
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2010 9:43 AM CDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, listens to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)
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(Newser) – Israel’s Arab minority is decrying a new law that would force new citizens who are not Jewish to pledge a loyalty oath to the “Jewish and democratic” state. Critics say the bill is yet another move intended to stifle dissent and marginalize the country’s Arabs, who already feel like second-class citizens, the AP reports. The bill's defenders, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, say Israel must preserve its Jewish identity.

The bill comes from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party. Some speculate that Netanyahu is backing the bill to get Lieberman to acquiesce to concessions in the Palestinian peace talks. The cabinet shot down an earlier, harsher version of the bill, which would force even current citizens to take the oath, stripping them of that citizenship if they refused.