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Jerusalem - Israeli Cabinet Committee Pushes Bill That Downgrades Arabic

Published on: May 7, 2017 06:30 PM
By: AP
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FILE - A construction worker changes the names of th streets in English, Hebrew and Arabic in the Old City of Jerusalem. In each different language, the street signs read a different name.  Nov 11 2009. Photo by Yossi Zamir/flash 90FILE - A construction worker changes the names of th streets in English, Hebrew and Arabic in the Old City of Jerusalem. In each different language, the street signs read a different name.  Nov 11 2009. Photo by Yossi Zamir/flash 90

Jerusalem - An Israeli Cabinet committee is pushing forward a bill that downgrades Arabic as an official language of the country.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted Sunday to present the controversial “nation-state bill” that states “the right to realize self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

The bill has to pass several rounds of legislation in parliament for it to become law. Critics charge that, if passed, it could undermine Israel’s balance of being both a Jewish and democratic state by harming the rights of the country’s minorities. Currently, both Hebrew and Arabic are Israel’s national languages. The bill states that Hebrew would be the lone national and downgrades Arabic to “a special status in the state” whose “speakers have the right to language-accessible state services.”

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