Govt. Approves Extension of Citizenship Law

The Government unanimously approved for legislation a proposal by Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar to extend the Citizenship Law.

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David Lev,

Gideon Saar
Gideon Saar
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Government on Sunday unanimously approved for legislation a proposal by Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar to extend by one year a law that prevents the law for the unification of families from being taken advantage of, to sneak terrorists and security threats into the country.

The law requires that the backgrounds of all people who apply for Israeli residency on the basis of the unification of families – individuals whose parents, children, spouses, or other close relatives are not citizens of Israel – be checked to ensure that they candidate does not have a terror background, and has not been involved in security offenses against Israel. The law usually applies to PA Arabs who marry Israelis and wish to live in Israel, and not Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

The Citizenship Law passed last year prevents most PA Arabs from being considered for the reunification program. Israeli Arabs who marry PA Arabs are free and welcome to take up residency in PA controlled areas.

The Interior Ministry said that it was supporting an extension of the law based on consultations with the Shabak and other security agencies. According to those consultations, the Ministry said, security officials said that Gaza remained a hotbed of terror activity, and that many of its residents were a clear and present danger to the security of Israelis. Under the law, Gaza residents cannot be considered for Israeli residency.

In response, MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) said that he “was upset to hear about the government's decision. Once again the Citizenship Law is being used to generalize the barring of Palestinians from being considered for unification of families. Listing all Palestinians as security risks is racist and upsetting. It is time to end this and to consider all requests for reunification of families on an individual basis,” he added.