According to a bill approved by the ministerial committee on 7 May, Hebrew becomes the sole official language of Israel, while Arabic, spoken by 17.5% of the population, will have only one “Special status”. According to the Knesset website, the Israeli Parliament, Hebrew and Arabic have been the official languages in Israel since the creation of the state in 1948, without a law being passed in this sense.
“The values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state will be set in the spirit of the founding principles of the State of Israel,” the draft says.
Israel has no constitution but fundamental laws. In the time of mandatory Palestine, there were three official languages, English, Hebrew and Arabic, but with the creation of the State of Israel, English ceased to be an official language, The other two remaining the languages of all the official documents of the State.
For MP Avi Dichter, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, this bill, which he is one of the promoters, is “the means of fixing in the law our national identity while remaining a democratic state”.
The opponents of this bill, which is adopted by the government and which calls for the definition of Israel as “the national state of the Jewish people”, argue that it runs counter to democracy and institutionalizes discrimination against minorities.
He was denounced by the leader of the Unified Arab List, deputy Ayman Odeh, for whom this law “violates the rights of minorities by legally transforming us into second-class citizens”.
The bill must be presented to Parliament for approval. Benjamin Netanyahu had defended in 2014 this bill aimed at strengthening the “Jewish” character of the state.
“The aim of this law is to ensure the future of the Jewish people on its land,” he said, criticizing those who “from within want to question the national law of the Jewish people on this land.”
Source: RT France