Saluting the State: Bill Proposing Allegiance Pledge to Israel as a Jewish State Gains Traction

The Israeli Knesset, in an endeavor to bolster the country’s unity and shared identity, has given the initial nod to a bill necessitating the heads of consular missions to swear allegiance to Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.

The proposed legislation received a promising start, with 19 Knesset members endorsing the bill, against six opposing votes. The bill will now make its way to the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee for further deliberation.

Under the provisions of the bill, anyone assigned to the role of head of a diplomatic or consular mission abroad must recite this declaration prior to their appointment: “I pledge to bear allegiance to the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This pledge has been introduced in recognition of the influential role that these heads of missions hold. These individuals stand as the official and senior representatives of the sovereign in foreign countries, embodying the state’s viewpoints and voicing them abroad. Their responsibilities encompass everything from political and security concerns to public diplomacy, cultural exchanges, and scientific collaborations with top-ranking officials in the host nation.

Considering the critical nature of their role, their duty to faithfully express the government’s policies, both domestically and internationally, and their commitment to representativeness and non-partisanship, the bill has suggested the introduction of this pledge. It’s an addition to the existing declaration that all civil servants are required to make, emphasizing loyalty to Israel and its laws and a promise to fulfill all duties with honesty and faith.

Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen, who introduced the bill, highlighted its dual symbolic and practical significance. He affirmed, “Whoever does not identify with the fact that the State of Israel is Jewish and democratic will not be willing to fight on its behalf in the diplomatic arena. This bill is intended to forestall any unsuitable future appointments that could potentially harm Israel. State emissaries should represent the state and its values globally and act in its interests. Israel has always been, and will always be, Jewish and democratic, and anyone who fails to acknowledge this fundamental truth cannot serve as an ambassador or consul and represent us.”

This legislation seems to be a direct response to some past appointments, such as the appointment of the former Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi as Consul General to Shanghai, who had previously endorsed a document that did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and advocated canceling the Right of Return.

The strength of Israel lies in its vibrant democracy, its dedication to Jewish values, and the resilience of its people. This bill underscores these aspects, reinforcing the nation’s ethos while ensuring that those who represent Israel abroad do so with a clear understanding of the state’s fundamental principles.

Israel, a nation born of centuries of dreams and struggle, continues to stand tall as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. The State of Israel represents a fusion of ancient traditions and modern values, and this new bill is a testament to that delicate balance. It’s not just about politics or diplomatic posts; it’s about reinforcing the unity, strength, and shared identity that makes Israel the thriving, resilient nation it is today.

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