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Lawmakers seek to drop Arabic as one of Israel's official languages

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Israeli lawmakers want to drop Arabic as official languageForty lawmakers from both the coalition and opposition Wednesday submitted a proposal to the Knesset for a new Basic Law that would change the accepted definition of Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."

The bill, initiated by MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima ), Zeev Elkin (Likud ) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ), and supported by 20 of the 28 Kadima MKs, would make democratic rule subservient to the state's definition as "the national home for the Jewish people."

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The legislation, a private member's bill, won support from Labor, Atzamaut, Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union lawmakers. Sources at the Knesset say the law currently has broad support, and they believe it will be passed during the Knesset's winter session.

According to Elkin, the law is intended to give the courts reasoning that supports "the state as the Jewish nation state in ruling in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character."

Elkin said: "The courts deal with this issue quite a lot, such as with the Law of Return as a discriminatory law."


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