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Citizenship Law extended by 6 months
Attila Somfalvi

Fifty-three MKs vote in favor of extending temporary order banning family reunification for Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens or residents; 13 oppose. `Calling this law racist is a great compliment,` says Balad MK Zahalka. `It`s retroactive and ruthless`

Seven years after the legislation of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which denies granting Israeli citizenship or residency permits to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens or residents, the law was extended on Wednesday for six month.

Fifty-three Knesset members voted in favor or extending the law, and only 13 opposed.

Minister of Religious Service Yakov Margi explained the background behind the law. `The security reality has shown increased involvement of Palestinian residents of the region who have exploited the status they gained in Israel following family reunification proceedings with Israelis, to take part in terrorist activity, including assisting in the execution of suicide attacks. The Israeli ID cards have made them the preferred population to carry out attacks.`

MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta`al) claimed that the law, which is defined as a temporary order, is not directed at boosting security, but aims to prevent the right of return.

`That is what Minister Gideon Ezra said at the time, and it is what Interior Minister Eli Yishai says. In response to the High Court of Justice, the State has changed its words in order to fool the court, and says there are security circumstances. A stranger coming from another planet would think that up until now the door was open and any Palestinian who wanted to would enter and receive a warm welcome.`

Tibi also spoke of his personal case. `You see here a Palestinian love story on both sides of the Green Line – like in my case, I am from Tayibe and my wife is from Tulkarem – a threat to the existence of the stable state in the Middle East.`

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) claimed in response that there is no violation of rights: `If you love her, follow her to Jenin.`

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) argued that extending the temporary order each year indicates the true purpose behind it. `Calling it racist is a great compliment,` he said. `This is a retroactive, ruthless law. The law also applies to a couple that met and got married before it was legislated. Beyond anything else, this law is not humanitarian.`

MK Chaim Oron (Meretz) said in protest of the extension, `You can tell someone, `You are not a citizen,` but you can`t tell someone `You are a citizen, but you are stripped of your basic right to bring your partner in.` The security argument has disappeared, and the racist argument is on the table for all to see.`


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