Jerusalem, July 19: Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed into law a controversial bill that defines the country as an exclusively Jewish state. The “Jewish nation state” bill downgrades Arabic as an official language and says advancing Jewish settlement is a national interest. It also states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is its capital, BBC reported. Israeli Arab MPs condemned the legislation but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised it as a “defining moment”. The bill, backed by the country’s right-wing government, says that “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 stormy session in the Knesset that lasted more than eight hours. Sixty-two MPs voted for the bill, with 55 against. Arab MP Ahmed Tibi said the bill’s passing represented the “death of democracy”. (IANS)
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