MK Jamal Zahalka
MK Jamal ZahalkaFlash 90

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) expressed his concern on Thursday over a possible large-scale emigration of Israeli Arabs to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The reason for Zahalka’s concern is the implementation of the amendment to the citizenship law, which prevents the unification of Palestinian Authority Arabs with their Israeli Arab spouses.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition against the amendment and ruled that PA Arabs who have Israeli spouses will not be allowed to receive Israeli citizenship.

The judges wrote that while they recognize a person’s right to a family, that right need not necessarily be extended to be realized in Israel.

In a statement he issued, Zahalka said that Israel is taking advantage of the Court’s decision in order to bring about the emigration of Arab Israeli men, women and children to areas controlled by the PA, on the pretext that the amendment to the law does not allow them to live with their families.

The amendment, which was approved in 2003 as a temporary provision, has since been extended several times, the last time being in July.

The provision stipulates that the Interior Minister may grant citizenship to an Arab resident of Judea and Samaria only if he is convinced that person recognizes Israel.

“Marrying into Israel” is considered to be one system used by hostile Palestinian Authority Arabs to change Israel’s demographics and to infiltrate the country for nefarious purposes.

The key phrase in the provision states that, “During the period in which this law shall remain in force, despite what is said in any legal provision, including article 7 of the Citizenship Law, the Minister of the Interior shall not grant the inhabitant of an area citizenship on the basis of the Citizenship law, and shall not give him a license to reside in Israel on the basis of the Entry into Israel Law, and the Area Commander shall not grant a said inhabitant, a permit to stay in Israel, on the basis of the security legislation in the area.”

In the past, the Shin Bet said, “family unification” has been used to bring terrorists into Israel, where they carried out attacks.

MK Zahava Galon (Meretz), who was one of the appellants, criticized the Supreme Court’s decision and said, “The court has gotten tired of battling racism. The decision to reject my petition is the result of the campaign to weaken the Supreme Court.”

She added, “It’s too bad the Supreme Court did not erase one of the most shameful stains in the Israeli law book, which deals a fatal blow to the fundamental right to family life and equality. The Court has given legitimacy to limitations on the freedom of marriage of Israel’s Arab citizens, to the dismantling of entire families, and to discrimination against citizens only because of their ethnic and national identity.”