Israeli parliament to vote on contentious Nation State bill

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  • The bill enshrines the country’s Jewish character into law
  • Critics say it marginalizes the country’s Arab citizens

JERUSALEM: Israel’s parliament is set to vote on a controversial piece of legislation that would define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

A parliamentary committee has approved a final draft of the Nation State bill, paving the way for the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to vote on its passage into law Wednesday.

Israel’s government says the bill, which would have constitution-like standing, enshrines the country’s Jewish character into law, but critics say it marginalizes the country’s Arab citizens, which constitute around 20 percent of the population, and threatens Israeli democracy. One clause of the bill downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing.

Lawmakers removed a clause allowing the establishment of “separate communities” that was criticized as racist, replacing it with a clause encouraging “Jewish settlement.”

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