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Israel will set up a state academy for promoting the Arabic language. The Knesset on Wednesday approved a bill introduced by two Labor Party lawmakers for the creation of an Arabic equivalent of Israel’s Hebrew Language Academy.

“The academy will provide a bridge between cultural groups in Israel and between Israel and its neighbors,” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, who co-sponsored the legislation with Arab lawmaker Nadia Hilou. Arabic officially is Israel’s second language, but many Arab citizens complain that it is underrepresented on the school syllabus and in public venues.

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