The Israeli cabinet has approved a proposal requiring new immigrants to pledge loyalty to the "Jewish and democratic" state.
The language has triggered charges of racism from Arab politicians who see it as undermining the rights of the country's Arab minority.
It has raised tensions with Palestinians at a time when peace talks are deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on new building in West Bank Jewish settlements.
The amendment was backed by Yisrael Beitenu, an ultra-nationalist party whose leader, Avigdor Lieberman, has been a vocal critic of Israel's settlement freeze.
Sunday's cabinet vote may be a way to soften Lieberman's opposition to extending the slowdown, though officials have denied there is any connection.
Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said the bill would become law once approved by a simple majority in the Knesset [parliament].
The Israeli supreme court would then have to adjudicate whether the new language is at odds with the country's basic law, he said.