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MKs vote to make Arabic compulsory in schools

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.”

AFP

Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, June 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, June 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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