Israel’s parliament has passed a controversial bill which considers the country as an exclusively Jewish state. The label downgrades downgrades Arabic as an official language and says advancing Jewish settlement is a national interest.
The bill also states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is its capital. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised it as a “defining moment”, but Israeli Arab MPs condemned the legislation.
It says”Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. It was passed after a lengthy Knesset session of over 8 hours after which sixty-two MPs voted for the bill and 55 against.
A few clauses,including a clause that would have enshrined in law the creation of Jewish-only communities, were dropped following objections from Israel’s president and attorney-general.
Ahmed Tibi, an Arab MP said the bill’s passing represented the “death of democracy”. Adalah, an Arab rights non-governmental organisation, said the law was an attempt to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.