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February 25, 2014

Israel draws distinctions between its Arab minorities

Netizens slam legislation granting Christian Arabs separate, non-Arab, minority status.
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Christian Palestinians light candles inside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 24 December 2013. (EPA/JIM HOLLANDER)

In Israel, a controversial employment bill separates Christian Arabs from Muslim Arabs in employment. The Knesset, the country's legislative branch, passed the bill Monday. It defines Israel's Christian citizens, the vast majority of whom are ethnically Arab, as "non-Arabs". 

Yariv Levin, Member of Knesset and sponsor of the bill, said the goal of the legislation is to increase the integration of Christians in Israeli society. According to Times of Israel, Israeli Arab Members of Knesset criticised Levin for attempting to instigate a divide between Israel's Arab citizens. 

The legislation changes the number of panel members in Israel's public advisory council from five to 10. The new workers' rights representatives will include Christian, Muslim, Druze and Circassian individuals.  

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