Washington — The Obama administration and the Anti-Defamation League expressed reservations about Israel’s proposed “Jewish state” law.
“We would expect any final legislation to continue Israel’s commitment to democratic principles,” Jeff Rathke, a State Department spokesman, said Monday at the daily briefing for reporters.
In a statement, the ADL said the bill was “well-meaning but unnecessary,” and that “some have sought to use the political process to promote an extreme agenda which could be viewed as an attempt to subsume Israel’s democratic character in favor of its Jewish one.”
Critics say the bill could conceivably provide the underpinning for legislation that would marginalize Arab-Israelis and other minorities.
The bill under consideration would define Israel constitutionally as a Jewish state.
It has stirred controversy in Israel and could split apart Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition should it reach the Knesset as early as next week.
On Sunday, the Cabinet approved the bill in a 14-6 vote.