Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (L) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (R) attend the weekly cabinet meeting in occupied Jerusalem November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Hollander/Pool
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Israel's justice minister said Monday that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on bringing a contentious nationality law to a parliamentary vote, it could mean the end of his government and the holding of early elections.The bill would formally identify Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enshrine Jewish law as a source of inspiration for legislation, and delist Arabic as an official language.Netanyahu says the proposed law is needed because of the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, insisting it would put Israel's Jewish and democratic characters on equal footing. Opponents charge that it discriminates against Israel's Arab minority and paves the way for Jewish religious law to supplant democratic practices.Debate over the nationality law comes amid soaring tensions between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population of eight million.
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