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New ‘citizenship law’ progresses in Knesset months after expiration

The ministers first approve a bill that primarily prohibits Palestinians married to Israelis from receiving permits to live with their spouses in Israel.

The bill – widely known as the “citizenship law” – passes through the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, allowing the coalition to speed up the process. From there, the bill will go to the Knesset, where it still has to go through several votes before it becomes law.

Since 2003, an Israeli law – renewed every year – has prohibited Palestinians married to Israelis from receiving residency. The coalition did not garner enough votes to renew the law in July, causing it to expire, in part due to the Islamist Ra’am party, from which two MPs abstained.

Home Secretary Ayelet Shaked has since said on several occasions that she intends to put the law to another vote. She also continued to enforce the ban, even though the law is no longer in force.

The Citizenship Law was first passed during the Second Intifada as an emergency counterterrorism measure. Israeli security officials at the time said Palestinians married to Israelis were more likely to participate in terrorism.

In the years that followed, Israeli politicians increasingly argued that the law is an essential means of maintaining a Jewish majority.

“There is no need to shirk the essence of this law. It is one of the tools for securing a Jewish majority in Israel, which is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Our goal is for there to be a Jewish majority, ”tweeted Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shortly before the law expired in early July.


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