Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday visited Independence Hall, where he announced his plan to submit a law defining Israel as the Jewish State.

Speaking at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv on Thursday – a few days before the 66th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to submit a new Basic Law to the Knesset (Parliament) affirming Israel’s status as the Jewish State.

Independence Hall, now a museum, is the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the Jewish State on May 14, 1948. The corresponding Hebrew date is the fifth of Iyar, which this year falls on Monday evening until sunset Tuesday.

Jewish state

President Shimon Peres speaks with Israeli soldiers at a rehearsal for the upcoming Independence Day ceremony. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

“The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel,” the Israeli leader declared. “To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the national state of our people.”

“One of my main missions as Prime Minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the national state of our people,” he continued. “To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the national state of the Jewish people. I believe that the most basic component in our life as a nation will receive constitutional status similar to the other main components that are the foundation of our state, as determined in the basic laws.”

The Jewish State Will Preserve Full Equality for All Citizens

“The State of Israel will always preserve the full equality, in personal and civil rights, of all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, in a Jewish and democratic country,” Netanyahu said. “And indeed, in Israel, individual and civil rights are assured for everyone, which sets us apart in the large expanse of the Middle East and even beyond.”

In the past several months, during the US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which ultimately failed, PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas consistently refused to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, as per Israel’s basic demand. At one point, US Secretary of State John Kerry opined that such recognition was unnecessary for continuing negotiations.

Opposing Recognition of Jewish State Undermines Israel’s Existence

“I find it astonishing that among those who call on Israel to make concessions in Judea and Samaria due to the self-evident desire to avoid a binational state, there are those who oppose defining the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People,” Netanyahu stated. “One cannot favor the establishment of a Palestinian national state in order to maintain the Jewish character of the State of Israel and – at the same time – oppose recognizing that the State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People. Supporting the establishment of a Palestinian national state and opposing the recognition of the Jewish national state undermines – over the long-term – the State of Israel’s very right to exist.”