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Arab Israeli leader said Saturday that he had enlisted the assistance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the battle against the recently passed nation-state law, which has been criticized as being discriminatory against Israel’s Arab minority.
 
“We are embarking on an international effort and will turn to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, the European Union in Brussels and the UN in New York, said Mohammad Barakeh, a longtime leader of the left-wing Hadash party who currently heads the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.
 
“This morning I met with [Abbas], who will lend assistance to promoting this issue in any arena,” he added, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

MK Juma Azbarga of the Joint (Arab) List, meanwhile, was quoted as saying the Arab Israeli lawmakers should resign from the Knesset en masse in protest of the law. His comments came as one MK announced he was stepping down over the legislation.

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Proponents of the nation-state law, which was passed earlier this month, say it puts Jewish values and democratic values on equal footing. Critics, however, say the law effectively discriminates against Israel’s Arabs and other minority communities.

The law became a Basic Law, one of several that, similarly to a constitution, underpin Israel’s legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws.

The law also declares that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, sets the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of the state, and recognizes Independence Day, days of remembrance, and Jewish holidays. One clause of the bill downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing, but also cryptically stipulates that “this clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.”
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