Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedDani Shem Tov - Knesset Spokesperson

The Knesset on Monday evening approved Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's Citizenship Law in its first reading.

Opposition members on the right refrained from supporting the vote and did not take part in it, after MK Ahmad Tibi from the Joint List sought to turn it into a no-confidence vote against the government.

MKs from the coalition partners Meretz and Ra'am also did not participate in the vote so as not to embarrass the coalition by voting against it.

MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) explained is abstention by saying: “We oppose the Citizenship Law and support the government. As soon as the vote on the Citizenship Law became a request from MK Ahmad Tibi for a no-confidence vote, we went out. We will not vote for a racist law and we will not vote for a vote of no confidence in the government."

Minister Ayelet Shaked responded on her Twitter account to the approval of the Citizenship Law in a preliminary reading. "Zionism and common sense have won. Thank you to all those involved in the craft from most of the Knesset factions - opposition as well as coalition. We will continue to the second and third readings," Shaked wrote.

At the same time, MK Simcha Rotman's citizenship bill was also approved by a majority of 72 supporters against 32 opponents.

"I am happy and welcome the Knesset's support for the Citizenship Law, which protects Israel's security and our defensive wall. The law will set a maximum quota of entry permits into Israel and will require a report and transparency to the Knesset on the permits issued. Until we succeed in passing the Basic Law on Immigration, which is the most appropriate response, we will not abandon Israel's security and will work to bring about a citizenship law that will ensure the protection of Israel's borders. We promised to be a responsible opposition and we did so today in cooperation with the Zionist parties in the coalition," MK Rotman responded.

Because Shaked has the coronavirus, her bill was presented in the Knesset by Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel.

"What is the mission of our generation? To preserve Israel. We received as a gift from the founding generation a Jewish and democratic state. A great miracle. A dream of many generations. The country where Jews, Muslims and Christians live best in the Middle East. Yes I say this to my fellow members in a Jewish and democratic state. Because without Judaism there is no democracy and vice versa," Hendel said.

"In our shift it is our duty to do everything to sustain the Zionist enterprise. A state that allows the entry of subjects of an enemy entity, and avoids the passage of this important law - extends its neck to slaughter. Not in my shift. Not in our shift," Hendel added.