A bill that would establish an official Academy for the Arabic Language passed its first reading in the Knesset on Wednesday by a vote of 24 to 6. The State of Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic, noted a statement released by the office of MK Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad), who - together with Labor MK Nadia Hilu - is signed on the bill. "This is the first time an Academy for the Arabic Language is established in a non-Arab country," said Melchior following the passage of the bill's first reading. According to Melchior, the academy "will help develop a cultural connection with Arab states, build a bridge between Jews and Arabs in Israel and strengthen the Arabic language among the Arab public." The bill has passed to the Knesset Education Committee, which is chaired by Melchior, where it will undergo corrections ahead of the second and third readings.