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Israeli-Arab legislator resigns over Jewish nation bill

Zuhair Bahloul said he can no longer serve in a country that officially marginalises the 20% Arab minority he represents.

An Israeli-Arab legislator says he is resigning from parliament for “ideological reasons” to protest against the recent passage of a controversial law enshrining the state’s Jewish character.

Labour lawmaker Zuhair Bahloul said he can no longer serve in a country that officially marginalises the 20% Arab minority he represents.

Mr Bahloul, formerly a popular sports broadcaster, is regarded as a symbol of Jewish-Arab co-existence.

His departure marks further fallout from the explosive bill, which has also seen strong opposition from a Druze minority that serves in the military and feels slighted by the legislation.

Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence defined its nature as a Jewish and democratic state. The government says the bill merely enshrines the country’s existing character but critics say it undercuts its democratic values.

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