Compulsory Arabic backed
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.”