Joint Arab List MKs celebrate failure of Citizenship Law to pass
Joint Arab List MKs celebrate failure of Citizenship Law to passצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) agreed to grant residency permits to thousands of Arab families in exchange for passage of the Citizenship Law, a coalition lawmaker said Tuesday morning.

Issawi Freij (Meretz), the minister for regional cooperation, lamented the government’s failure to pass the Citizenship Law earlier Tuesday morning, calling it a missed opportunity for Arab families seeking legal status in Israel via family reunification.

Freij said that in exchange for the support of his party and MKs from the United Arab List (Ra’am), Shaked had agreed to grant legal standing to 3,000 Palestinian Arab families.

“The agreement we reached with Bennett and Shaked would have given more than 3,000 Palestinian families legal standing in Israel. We didn’t want to publicize it because of the Right. We missed a one-time opportunity to do justice for thousands of our people.”

Religious Zionist Party chief Bezalel Smotrich ripped the government over the deal, saying: “Freij knows what he’s talking about and revealed Shaked’s lies. That’s what happens when lying becomes a tactic.”

Shas MK Uriel Boso celebrated the law’s failure, saying: “We were saved by a miracle.”

Lawmakers from the Joint Arab List also touted the Citizenship Law’s failure in the Knesset, which voted 59-59 early Tuesday morning, denying the government the majority needed to extend the law.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked blasted the Likud and the Religious Zionist Party for opposing the law, which would limit the ability of Palestinian Authority residents from claiming citizenship or residency in Israel via family reunification.

The law, first passed during the Second Intifada as an emergency measure, has been extended annually ever since.

“The irresponsible behavior of the Likud and Smotrich blocked the Citizenship Law, and will lead to 15,000 requests for citizenship. Despite the claims of so-called right-wing ideologues, for whom lying has become a second language, the law wasn’t changed even in the slightest.”

“I agreed to the same deal which Deri gave three years ago,” Shaked continued, referencing her predecessor, former Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas).

“But last night, Netanyahu and Smotrich again chose petty politics which will torch the country.”