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As talks stall, Netanyahu vows to reinforce Israel’s status as a Jewish state

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he intended to promote legislation bolstering the status of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, anchoring the principle as one of the basic laws that serve as the country’s constitution.

The move comes as an apparent response to the Palestinians’ categorical rejection of Netanyahu’s demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state during nine months of United States-brokered peace talks, which broke down late last month.

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“To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks during a visit to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, where the state’s establishment was declared in May 1948.

Previous bills promoting Israel’s Jewish character proved highly contentious, with Jewish critics and representatives of the country’s Arab minority saying the bills placed the state’s Jewish identity above democracy.

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