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Israel Passes Controversial Nation State Bill

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Israel Passes Controversial Nation State Bill
Israeli lawmakers passed a bill that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.
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Israel's parliament passed a controversial law known as the Nation State bill.

The law passed in the Knesset on Thursday establishes Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill a “historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel.”

The bill defines Jerusalem as the capital and describes the flag. It also defines the official language as Hebrew and downgrades Arabic to "special status." 

Though the bill is largely symbolic, critics say it discriminates against the county's Arab community. According to CNN, Arabs make up about 20% of Israel's population.

One Arab lawmaker said the bill declares Arab's as "second-class citizens," while others stood on the Knesset floor and tore up copies of the bill. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.