Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

German president says Israel ties solid despite recent spat


However, the bill did not pass through a ministerial committee at the time.

Critics also note that the proposed legislation, which also declares that the "right to self determination" in Israel is "unique to the Jewish people" impinges on the rights of its Arab minority, who make up some 20 percent of the population.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved the National Law bill, aimed at protecting Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

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Public signs and government services are typically in Hebrew as well as Arabic and it was unclear whether the new bill would change that. Since then, a number of versions of the legislation have been drafted by right-wing lawmakers but none has made it through the Knesset to become law. Commentators say this could be a lengthy process.

Abbas told reporters he reiterated to U.S. President Donald Trump during their last week's meeting in Washington his readiness to cooperate and meet with Netanyahu under Trump's sponsorship for peace making.

Israel's cabinet breathed new life on Sunday into efforts to anchor in law the country's status as a Jewish state and revokes Arabic's "official language" status, in legislation Palestinians have described as an obstacle to peace. What has been the reaction in Israel? "The State of Israel, which demands of its enemies to recognize it as the nation-state of the Jewish people and justifiably asks its supporters in the world to back this demand, needs to be able to declare in its highest legislative level that it proudly maintains this identify".

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He claimed that Israeli democracy is perhaps more successful than German democracy and he praised how the Jewish state deals with terrorism: "I can only say that I admire Israeli democracy for how it has defied external threats for decades by taking pride in its diversity".

President Steinmeier has underlined the strength of German-Israeli ties in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

A report by the Haaretz daily newspaper published Tuesday cites an official from Abbas' office as saying that the Palestinian delegation showed Trump documents and maps from the 2008 negotiations under Olmert during their recent visit to the White House.

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The German president's four-day visit to Israel comes amid strained relations between the two countries after a German minister met with two human rights groups seen as critical of the Israeli government. Mr Trump is expected in Israel later this month as part of his first foreign trip and the Palestinian president said "we are looking forward to his visit soon to Bethlehem" in West Bank, with speculation it will occur on May 23.

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