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Bill making denial of Israel a crime advances

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A bill that would require a one-year prison sentence for anyone speaking against Israel’s existence as a Jewish state passed a first reading.

The bill, proposed by Jewish Home Party lawmaker Zevulun Orlev, advanced Wednesday by a vote of 47-34, with one abstention. Knesset members had a heated discussion on the bill before and after the vote.

A Knesset committee will determine when and in what form it should come back to the entire body for a second and third reading.

The measure comes just days after a bill was proposed making it illegal to observe Israel Independence Day as a day of mourning.

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