Knesset speaker refuses to sign lawmaker’s resignation letter written in Arabic
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Knesset speaker refuses to sign lawmaker’s resignation letter written in Arabic

Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Jerusalem, April 30, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The speaker of Israel’s Knesset refused to sign the resignation letter of an Arab-Israeli lawmaker because it was written in Arabic.

Yuli Edelstein sent the letter from Wael Younis of the Arab Joint List to the Knesset’s translation department on Wednesday before signing the document. The speaker’s signature make the resignation valid.

“No man will sign a document he can’t read. I respect the Arabic language, but it’s a fundamental matter,” Edelstein wrote on Twitter after the Israeli media reported his refusal.

Younis is resigning as part of a rotation agreement among the parties that make up the Joint List.

His decision to resign in Arabic comes from the perceived downgrading of the language to one of “special status” in the nation-state law passed last month. Other Arab Knesset lawmakers have threatened to resign in Arabic.