JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli Arab lawmaker says he is resigning from parliament for “ideological reasons” to protest the recent passage of a controversial law enshrining the state’s Jewish character.
Labor lawmaker Zuhair Bahloul says Sunday he can no longer serve in a country that officially marginalizes the 20 percent Arab minority he represents.
Bahloul, a former popular sports broadcaster, is regarded as a symbol of Jewish and Arab coexistence.
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.
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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.