Israeli parliament to vote on contentious Nation State bill

A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 31, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Israeli parliament to vote on contentious Nation State bill

  • 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.”


Israeli police arrest 19 Palestinians at Jerusalem holy site

Updated 20 February 2019
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Israeli police arrest 19 Palestinians at Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM: Israeli police say they have arrested 19 Palestinians as clashes broke out at a contested Jerusalem holy site.
Police say dozens of Palestinians participated in a prayer protest Tuesday, attempting to breach a section of the compound that has been closed by Israeli court order for years.
Palestinian medics reported that several protesters were injured in the standoff.
The incident follows a similar scuffle on Monday in which Palestinians tried to break the gate that Israel placed on the closed area last week.
The compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
Any trace of Israeli security interference in the shrine, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, can ignite violence.