Com­pul­sory Ara­bic backed

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY JC REPORTER

KNES­SET MEM­BERS have backed a law to make Ara­bic classes com­pul­sory for Is­raeli stu­dents above the age of six.

The Is­raeli par­lia­ment voted unan­i­mously in favour of the bill on Wed­nes­day, with about half of all mem­bers in at­ten­dance.

The bill will now be stud­ied in com­mit­tee be­fore re­turn­ing to par­lia­ment for a sec­ond vote.

It is hoped that such a move could help im­prove re­la­tions be­tween Is­raeli Arabs and Jews. Both Ara­bic and He­brew are of­fi­cial lan­guages of Is­rael, but while the vast ma­jor­ity of Is­raeli Arabs speak He­brew, Ara­bic is not widely spo­ken among the Jewish pop­u­la­tion.

The bill was in­tro­duced by Likud law­maker Oren Hazan, who said it was meant to reach out to Arab Is­raelis.

“Lan­guage is a door to cul­ture,” he told AFP. “I am look­ing re­al­ity in the eyes and I un­der­stand there is no pos­si­bil­ity to walk to peace with­out un­der­stand­ing each other.”

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