World Bulletin / News Desk
Approved last month by the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the new legislation describes Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” -- a designation that has angered the country’s non-Jewish minority.
In response to the U.S. request for clarification, Netanyahu’s office reportedly told White House officials that the law would not adversely affect the rights of any citizen of Israel or lead to discrimination against any minority groups.
According to one official source cited by Channel 10, US administration officials were particularly concerned over an article of the law pertaining to “Jewish settlement”.
The official source, who was not named, said the White House -- which has not publicly criticized the law -- was satisfied with the assurances it had received from Netanyahu’s office, according to Channel 10.
The broadcaster went on to note that, in light of objections to the law raised by prominent members of the U.S. Jewish community (including pro-Israel legal expert Alan Dershowitz), the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump would like to see the legislation amended.
Netanyahu’s office confirmed that the law had come up for discussion at a recent meeting between Netanyahu’s chief-of-staff, Yoav Horowitz, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
The PM’s office went on to assert that there had been no criticism of the law by U.S. officials.
The legislation also states that a “united Jerusalem” is Israel’s capital and that Hebrew is its official language, stripping Arabic of its earlier designation as an official language while recognizing its “special status”.
The new law risks further alienating the country’s sizeable Arab minority, who say they already face discrimination from Israeli Jews and the government.
Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship account for approximately 21 percent of the country’s population.