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Israel Riles Arabs With Loyalty Bill

As Middle East peace talks unravel, Israel’s Arab minority is calling foul over a new bill passed by the country’s cabinet that induces new citizens who aren’t Jewish to pledge a vow of loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic” state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the measure—which is largely symbolic, since few non-Jews apply for citizenship—as an attempt to protect the essence of Israel during a time of turmoil. Arab lawmakers, however, said it was more hurtful: “Its purpose is to solidify the inferior status of Arabs by law,” said Ahmad Tibi, leader of Israel’s Arab nationalist party. Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel’s 7 million citizens.

October 10, 2010 2:50 PM