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Israeli cabinet passes controversial nation-state bill

New version of law - yet to be passed by the Knesset - downgrades Arabic

    Israel’s controversial “nation-state bill” has been passed by a cabinet committee.

    The bill, which will now proceed to the Knesset for further readings before becoming law, declares that Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people,” and that “the right to realise self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

    It also ends the status of Arabic as an “official language”.

    The bill states that “the national language is Hebrew” and downgrades Arabic to "a special status in the state," adding that "its speakers have the right to language-accessible state services.”

    However, the bill - in contrast to an earlier version - does not subordinate democracy to the state’s Jewish character.

    It also states that “every resident of Israel, without distinction of religion or national origin, is entitled to work to preserve his culture, heritage, language and identity,” and that “the state may allow a community, including members of the same religion or national origin, to have separate communal settlements.”

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