By a vote of 22-8, the Cabinet approved a draft amendment to Article 5c of the 1952 Citizenship Law.

 Cabinet communique


Reuters archive photo

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 10 October 2010:
1. At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his and the Government’s condolences to Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser on the recent passing of his mother, Yehudit. The Prime Minister said, "We all know how dear Tzvi is to us. I am certain that we will all find the time to convey our condolences to him, both collectively and personally."
The Prime Minister also made the following remarks:
"Today, the Cabinet will discuss an amendment to the Citizenship Law, to the effect that anyone seeking to become a naturalized Israeli citizen will declare that he or she will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
The State of Israel was not established like any other country. It was established as the national state of the Jewish people, as the sovereign state of the Jewish people in its historic homeland. There is broad agreement in Israel on the Jewish identity and the democracy of the State of Israel; this is the foundation of our existence here.

In 1896, Theodor (Binyamin Zeev) Herzl wrote: ‘The Jews who are seeking a state will have a state. Finally, we will live as free people on our own land.’
Fifty-one years later, on the eve of independence, David Ben-Gurion wrote: ‘The state that will be established will be Jewish in its purpose, designation and objective; not a state of those Jews who reside in the country but a state for the Jews, for the Jewish people."
Our Declaration of Independence says: ‘We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, to be known as the state of Israel.’
In 1992, the Knesset – in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty – determined: ‘The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.’
This is the essence of the Zionist vision and of the Declaration of Independence.
The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens – Jewish and non-Jewish – enjoy full, equal rights.
To my regret, today, there are those who are trying to blur not only the unique connection between the Jewish people and its homeland, but also the connection between the Jewish people and its state.  The connection of our people to the state and to the country is our soul and we cannot do without it. Likewise democracy is the soul of Israel and we cannot do without it. No one can preach democracy or enlightenment to us. Zionism established an exemplary national state, a state that balances between the national needs of our people and the individual rights of every citizen in the country.
There is no other democracy in the Middle East.
There is no other Jewish state in the world.
The combination of these two lofty values expresses the foundation of our national life and anyone who would like to join us needs to recognize this."

Prime Minister Netanyahu also referred to the start of the academic year:
Today marks the beginning of the academic year at 66 institutions of higher learning throughout Israel. The new academic year is marked by two main issues that we have led, along with Education Minister Gideon Saar: fostering excellence, and encouraging the periphery.  his is the first time that the higher education system is opening the academic year with a multi-year plan that has been budgeted in advance for six years. This plan encourages scientific excellence according to international standards.
In the coming year, the first four centers of excellence will be established alongside the universities. These are the first four out of a planned 30 centers that will be established over the next six years, at an overall investment of NIS 450 million. Each center will operate a unique program to bring back outstanding minds from abroad. Our goal is to bring back to the country Israeli scientists and researchers from the world’s leading universities. 
Concerning the periphery, several weeks ago the Cabinet approved tuition payments for discharged soldiers, for their first year of study. At the same time, this year we are increasing the number of students at colleges in the north and south of the country, and in Jerusalem. We are also encouraging Israel’s ultra-orthodox and Arab citizens’ access to higher education by allocating student quotas to these sectors and financing special programs.
I would like to commend the 293,000 students. May they have a successful, excellent and meaningful academic year."
2. With the start of the Knesset winter session tomorrow (Monday), 11 October 2010, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked ministers to take part in its debates, be present for votes and assist in passing legislation initiated by the Government, including the budget and the planning and building law, as well as private legislation that the Government has decided to support.
3. Education Minister Saar and senior Ministry officials briefed the ministers on the issue of higher education in Israel.
4. The Cabinet decided to extend the period in which veterans of the former South Lebanon Army are eligible to receive rent subsidies.
5. By a vote of 22-8, the Cabinet approved a draft amendment to Article 5c of the 1952 Citizenship Law.
The Cabinet determined that the oath – as per Article 5c of the 1952 Citizenship Law – for those seeking to become naturalized Israeli citizens, will be amended so as to conclude with the words: "…as a Jewish and democratic state, and I promise to honor the laws of the state."
The Cabinet also instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to formulate a draft memorandum for amending the Citizenship Law and to check into the possibility of incorporating into it ideas raised during the [Cabinet] discussion.
The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people, and it is a democratic state, the citizens of which enjoy full equal rights.
The goal of the above decision is anchor these principles in the oath for those seeking to become naturalized Israeli citizens by using the wording ("a Jewish and democratic state") used in other laws.
Cabinet Approves Amendment to Article 5c of the Citizenship Law
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
The Cabinet today (Sunday), 10 October 2010, approved an amendment to Article 5c of the Citizenship Law. According to the amendment, those seeking to become naturalized Israeli citizens will take an oath to the effect that their allegiance is to the State of Israel, "as a Jewish and democratic state," and that they "promise to honor the laws of the state."
It was agreed that Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s proposal to add to the above wording the expression, "in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of Independence," would be submitted for discussion by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman. It was also decided that the Justice Minister’s proposal to apply the aforesaid wording to those receiving citizenship under the Law of Return, would be discussed by the Cabinet at a future date.
The Cabinet decision is a summary of activity by the Forum on Migration that was established in order to formulate legislation in the field of migration into the State of Israel and in order to implement Israel’s national interests while upholding its values as a Jewish and democratic state that respects human rights.
Twenty-two ministers voted in favor of the draft amendment (Netanyahu, Yaalon, Shalom, Katz, Livnat, Saar, Peled, Steinitz, Kahlon, Erdan, Edelstein, Neeman, Liberman, Misezhnikov, Aharonovitch, Landau, Landver, Atias, Yishai, Margi, Nahari, and Hershkowitz) while eight ministers voted against (Meridor, Begin, Eitan, Barak, Ben-Eliezer, Braverman, Herzog and Simhon).