Is Israel a democracy? Five actions in 2010 that fueled the debate.

A loyalty oath to a Jewish state

In October, the Israeli cabinet approved a bill that will require even non-Jews who wish to become Israeli citizens to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. There was already a mandatory oath of loyalty – as is the norm in many countries – but now it will be amended to include the phrase "Jewish and democratic state," the Monitor reported.

The proposed law would have little practical impact, because there are few non-Jews seeking citizenship, but it is symbolic of an effort to delegitimize Arab Israeli citizens, some say.

Jaffar Farah, the director of the Israeli civil rights group Mossawa, noted that the bill would have little practical impact because family members of Israeli Arabs have been barred from becoming naturalized citizens under legislation passed during the height of the Palestinian uprising. Still, that doesn't ease the sense of injury.

"This is a dictatorship of the majority," he says. "We see this as part of the delegitimization campaign against our existence in Israel, which is led by the current government since it was established."

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