Emanuele Giaufret
Emanuele GiaufretYoni Kempinski

The Israeli government has summoned the European Union ambassador to Israel in for a diplomatic reprimand, following a report that the ambassador had lobbied Israeli lawmakers against a bill being advanced by the government to enshrine Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Earlier on Thursday, Channel 2 reported that Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret had pressured Israeli lawmakers in the coalition to vote against the Nationality Law.

If passed, the Nationality Law, would formally enshrine the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in its homeland as a unique right for the Jewish people. It would also anchor the symbols of the state, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Jewish calendar as the country's official calendar, and the Hebrew language as the official language.

The draft now being considered by the Knesset also includes a controversial section, Clause 7, which would permit the establishment of town entry committees to maintain the character of a particular community, and bar would-be residents from other sectors of the population.

Giaufret reportedly called the clause “racist”, and warned that Israel would face an international backlash if it was passed.

“The law stinks of racism, and it discriminates against various groups – particularly Arabs – and weakens the values Israel tries to uphold.”

Later on Thursday night, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement, saying that it had ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon Giaufret for a reprimand, adding that Israel would take “additional steps” in the matter.

“It is not enough that the EU finances NGOs that strive to undermine the State of Israel and finance illegal construction; it is now interfering with Israeli legislation,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. “Apparently they do not understand that Israel is a sovereign state.”