An Israeli parliamentary committee is deliberating a contentious bill that would define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
The government says the bill will merely enshrine into law Israel’s existing character. But critics say it excludes the 20 percent Arab minority population.
Israelis have taken to the streets in protest. Reuven Rivlin, the country’s ceremonial president who rarely delves into domestic politics, warned against clauses that appear to encourage segregation and downgrade the status of the Arabic language.
Last minute deliberations removed some of the more problematic language. But the Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, says the bill still threatens to undermine Israel’s democratic values.
After Monday’s deliberations, a vote could come later this week. If passed, the bill will likely face a Supreme Court challenge.