Israeli lawmakers vote to make Arabic classes compulsory for students from the age of six, in a move backers hope would help improve ties between Israeli Jews and Arabs.
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, votes unanimously in favor of the bill in a first reading on Wednesday, with about half of all deputies in attendance.
It will now be studied in committee before returning to parliament for a second vote.
The bill was introduced by lawmaker Oren Hazan, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, who says it is meant to reach out to Arab Israelis.
“Language is a door to culture,” he tells AFP. “I am looking reality in the eyes and I understand there is no possibility to walk to peace without understanding each other.”