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1 Israeli government rejects oath of loyalty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:12 pm



Israeli government rejects oath of loyalty
Palestinian burns Israeli flag (file photo)
Loyalty to the state has long been a controversial subject in Israel

The Israeli cabinet has rejected a controversial proposal to require Israeli citizens to take an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state.

Under the plan, introduced by the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, citizenship would be granted only to those who swore allegiance.

The proposal angered Israel's Arab minority, which comprises 20% of Israel's population.

The plan can still be brought before parliament, but is unlikely to succeed.

The measure was thrown out by eight votes to three at a meeting of the Cabinet on Sunday.

Yisrael Beiteinu , which won the third most seats in February's election, sought to introduce the oath as well as a ban on annual commemorations denouncing the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Comprise 20% of the population
Descend from Palestinian inhabitants pre-1948
Hold 13 seats in the 120-member parliament

Loyalty plans stir Israeli Arab ire

During the election campaign, the party focused on perceived disloyalty among Israeli Arabs, drawing widespread criticism as well as support.

Many Israeli Arabs mark the Nakba , or the Catastrophe, of 1948 when about 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their ancestral homes as Israel claimed its independence.

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