Israeli president urges lawmakers to drop Jewish-only bill

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-10 19:53:30|Editor: xuxin
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JERUSALEM, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday urged lawmakers not to approve a bill that allows the establishment of Jewish-only communities.

Dubbed "The Nation Law," the controversial bill, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition, allows the establishment of Jewish-only communities in Israel, where Arabs would not be allowed to rent or buy homes.

In a rare public criticism, Rivlin sent a letter to the parliament's committee on legislation and laws, urging them to amend the current version of the bill.

Rivlin warned that the clause allowing Jewish-only communities is "discriminatory. "

Earlier in the day, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri also warned the committee that the Jewish-only clause "might have international ramifications" as it could trigger international criticism against Israel.

Netanyahu plans to bring the bill for final approval at parliament next week. It needs to pass two full rounds of votes with a majority of 61 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament.

The bill aims to enshrine the Jewish character of the state by declaring Israel "the national home of the Jewish people" and setting Hebrew as the country's only official language.

Arab citizens of Israel are Palestinians who did not relocate during the 1948 war. They form Israel's largest minority and often complain about lack of job opportunities, racism and discrimination in all areas of life, including access to health, education, transport and municipal services.