Israel's parliament approved controversial legislation on Thursday that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, but critics warn that it marginalizes minorities.
"One-hundred-and-twenty-two years after Herzl (father of Zionism) published his vision, we've enshrined into the law the basic principle of our existence", prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, prising the law.
It downgrades Arabic from an official language, promotes the advancement of Jewish settlement as a national objective, and establishes East Jerusalem as part of Israel's capital.
Clauses that were dropped in last-minute political wrangling - and after objections by Israel's president and attorney-general - would have enshrined in law the establishment of Jewish-only communities, and instructed courts to rule according to Jewish ritual law when there were no relevant legal precedents.
As a Palestinian citizen of this state, this bill entrenches my third-class citizenship on the land where generations of my family have lived since long before the state of Israel even existed.
It was passed after a stormy session in the Knesset - the legislative branch of the Israeli government - which lasted for more than eight hours.
Ashrawi also said that this affirms Israel's willful intent to erase the Palestinian narrative, presence and continuity on the land, while actively eradicating the history, culture and identity of the Palestinian people which predate the creation of the state of Israel.
But the bill states that Hebrew is the only official language of the state, demoting the status of Arabic.
Recent high-profile cases of Arab bedouin villages being demolished to make way for Jewish majority towns, and warnings by the government of a demographic threat have drawn attention to Arab complaints.
Lawmakers in Israel's parliament passed the law by a vote of 62-55, with two abstentions, following months of debates on the issue.
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'This is an evil law, ' he told lawmakers, adding that 'a black flag hovers over it'.
The statement added that this violates all worldwide laws, signed agreements and United Nations (UN) resolutions guarding the Palestinian rights. In a statement after the law's passage, Levin said, "This is a historic and defining day in which we add another link in the glorious chain that our Zionist forefathers began".
"This is a creeping apartheid law that is just the beginning of a series of discriminatory laws against the Palestinian citizens of Israel", said Thabet Abu Rass, co-director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an Israeli NGO that works to promote equality.
The Bill - officially titled "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People" - is the legal enshrinement of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than a multi-ethnic, multifaith one.
Israel's 1948 declaration of independence defined its nature as a Jewish and democratic state, a delicate balance the country has grappled to maintain for 70 years.
The bill, which many from the political right wing have joined traditional opposition on the left to oppose, has been decried as "an end to Israel as a democracy".
Sheila Gewolb, the senior vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, stated, "Whilst we celebrate Israel's Jewish-ness, there is concern that some of the measures in this law are regressive steps".
A subtle change in wording from "a Jewish and democratic state" to "a Jewish state with a democratic regime" pleased many and angered others.
The law states that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel.