Opposition MKs vote against Citizenship Law
Opposition MKs vote against Citizenship Lawצילום: הכנסת

The Bennett government suffered its first defeat in the Knesset Monday, when a key Knesset committee voted to reject a coalition bid to fast-track the so-called “Citizenship Law”.

Despite enjoying a majority on the Arrangements Committee, the government’s proposal to send the Citizenship Law directly to the Foreign Affairs Committee was voted down Monday by a margin of 17 to 14, following a stormy committee hearing.

The bill, which would extend a law limiting the ability of Palestinian Authority residents from gaining Israeli citizenship via family reunification, will now be sent to the full Knesset for preliminary approval, before being sent to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The government had hoped to fast-track the bill, avoiding the preliminary plenum vote and sending the law directly to the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Senior coalition officials downplayed the defeat, telling Arutz Sheva that “the bill’s defeat in the Arrangements Committee was done simply for technical reasons, to ensure that it is brought before the full Knesset plenum.”

Coalition MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) blasted the Likud for leading the effort to undermine the bill, telling Arutz Sheva: “The Likud has crossed a red line. There are some things that have always been agreed upon in Israel, and that is Israel’s security and foreign affairs – the Likud today is working against Israel’s security.”

The Citizenship Law, which has been passed every year by the Knesset, extends an amendment limiting family reunifications for Palestinian Authority residents. The law was first passed during the Second Intifada as an emergency measure, but has been extended annually ever since.