Israel PM defends contentious law in face of Arab protest

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended his

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended his

Israeli Arabs hold a Palestinian flag during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passe

Israeli Arabs hold a Palestinian flag during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passe

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended h

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended h

An Arab Israeli Arab man holds a sign that reads "Equality now" during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11

An Arab Israeli Arab man holds a sign that reads "Equality now" during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices, Sunday August 12, 2018.  Netanyahu told the Ca

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices, Sunday August 12, 2018. Netanyahu told the Ca

A man holds a sign that reads "Justice in front of a poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu " during a protest against the Jewish na

A man holds a sign that reads "Justice in front of a poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu " during a protest against the Jewish na

People march during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passed law that enshrines Isra

People march during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passed law that enshrines Isra

People march during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passed law that enshrines Isra

People march during a protest against the Jewish nation bill in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The recently passed law that enshrines Isra

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister has criticized the presence of Palestinian flags at a protest against a contentious new law defining the country as a Jewish state.

Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet on Sunday that Palestinian flags "flying in the heart of Tel Aviv" was "conclusive evidence" that many protesters oppose Israel's existence, and proves the law is necessary.

Thousands rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday against the contentious law. Some Arab protesters waved Palestinian flags and others held signs reading "equality." It was the second major protest against the law in recent weeks.

Supporters of the law say it enshrines the country's existing character as a Jewish state. But critics say it undermines Israeli democracy and sidelines the country's non-Jewish minorities. Approximately 20 percent of Israelis are Arab.