Knesset speaker refuses to sign Arabic resignation letter from lawmaker
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Knesset speaker refuses to sign Arabic resignation letter from lawmaker

Yuli Edelstein has MK Wael Younis's notice translated to Hebrew before adding his signature, says 'no person will sign a document they can’t read'

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, on January 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, on January 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Knesset speaker has refused to sign the resignation letter of an Arab-Israeli lawmaker because it was written in Arabic.

Yuli Edelstein sent the resignation letter of Joint (Arab) List MK Wael Younis to the Knesset’s translation department on Wednesday and then signed the document.

The speaker’s signature is needed on such letters to make the resignation valid.

“No person will sign a document they can’t read. I respect the Arabic language, but this is a fundamental matter,” Edelstein wrote on Twitter after Israeli media reported his refusal.

Wael Younis (Courtesy)

Younis resigned his position in the Knesset as part of a rotation agreement among the parties that make up the Joint List.

His decision to resign in Arabic came after the parliament last month passed legislation downgrading the Arabic language from official to one of “special” standing. Other Arab Knesset lawmakers have threatened to resign in Arabic.

The nation-state law passed by the Knesset on July 19 as one of the country’s Basic Laws enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” but critics say it undermines Israel’s commitment to equality for all its citizens.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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