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Netanyahu Presents Citizenship Oath Change to Cabinet

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Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a proposed change in the citizenship oath that stresses Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature is necessary amid attempts to erode the country’s self-definition.

“To my regret, today there are attempts to blur not only the unique link between the Jewish people and their homeland, but also the connection between the Jewish people and their state,” Netanyahu told the Cabinet before a vote on the change today, according to comments posted on his Website.

The proposal comes as the U.S. increases pressure on Netanyahu to renew a 10-month freeze in West Bank construction that ended on Sept. 26. The Arab League has backed the Palestinian Authority’s decision not to resume direct peace talks launched on Sept. 2 until Israel stops the building.

Most members of Netanyahu’s government, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who leads the second-largest party in the coalition, oppose a resumption of the freeze.

“The decision expected today is important,” Lieberman said today on Army Radio, speaking about the oath vote. “The argument is over more than just borders. It is on the future character of the state of Israel.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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