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>> Israel's Arab lawmakers reacting in parliament. The chamber passing a law, Thursday, declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel. As some were escorted out of the Knesset. Members of the Arab minority are calling the law racist, and verging on a partide. The nation's state law, backed by the right wing government, passed after months of political argument.
Reuters correspondent in Jerusalem, Jeffrey Heller, explains what it means.>> This law enshrines the concept that Israel is a nation state of the Jewish people. Now as earlier Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing this line for years. It's one of his conditions for a peace treaty with the Palestinians.
He says that there can't be peace until the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, as the Jewish homeland. Now, that is effectively part of Israel's constitution. And Israel's Arab minority, which makes up 20% of the population, is not pleased.>> Israel's Arabs have long complained they feel like second class citizens.
The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew. And while it was water down at the last minute, Arab lawmakers say it'll still deepen their sense of alienation.>> Their nationality bill is it hate crime. They are totally discriminating against the Arab citizens.
Against the Arab minority,
th the racist articles, especially those of Jewish settlements, and those articles downgrading the status of the Arabic language.>> It comes as Netanyahu's government continues to work on enshrining its ideology. Earlier this week, Parliament passed a law that could see groups critical of government policies towards the Palestinians banned from entering Israeli schools and speaking with students.
Critics say the law is a blow to free speech and an attempt to weaken rights groups and NGOs, making the plight of Palestinians harder to be heard.