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Israel postpones vote on ‘Jewish state bill’

Settlers fly Israeli flag over Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque on 2 April 2017 [Ma'an News]
Settlers fly Israeli flag over Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque on 2 April 2017 [Ma'an News]

Members of Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party will oppose the controversial “Jewish nation-state” bill, Israel’s Haaretz reported today.

The bill passed its first reading on 10 May, however the paper said the opposition has forced the Ministerial Committee, which is in charge of preparing the law and submitting it to vote in the Knesset, to postpone putting it forward for two weeks.

Israeli government coalition Chairman, David Bitan, said the bill will be submitted with some changes “only on condition that the Haredim [ultra-orthodox Jews] remove their opposition”.

Read: Israel’s precarious identity is Palestine’s nightmare

Arab lawmakers in the Knesset object to the law saying it excludes Arabs who constitute 21 per cent of the population.

The bill states that “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the official language of the state”, downgrading Arabic from an official language into “a language of special importance in the state”.

According to the bill “every resident of Israel, without distinction of religion or national origin, is entitled to work to preserve his culture, heritage, language and identity.”

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