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Arabs in Israel Strike in Protest Against New Nationality Law

Most Arab workers and shopkeepers in Israel observed a half-day work stoppage in protest against the new nationality law which went into effect yesterday.

The Arabs protested what they called discrimination in the law against the Arab residents of the country, because it does not automatically give citizenship to all Arabs in Israel. Government estimates state that 150,000 Arabs will receive citizenship, while another 2,000 will have to make formal application for naturalization. Citizenship is automatically conferred upon all Jews in or arriving in the country as immigrants unless they give the Israel authorities prior notice of rejection of citizenship.

Many of the Arab leaders of the protest movement are Communists and the Communist-sponsored Arab weekly Alitihad was closed for a month following the publication of articles about the nationality law which the authorities considered “inciting.” In Nazareth most stores were closed yesterday, although tavern owners decided to remain open and sought police protection. Police stood by throughout the day, but no incidents occurred.

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