Ayelet Shaked and Simcha Rothman
Ayelet Shaked and Simcha Rothmanצילום: Miriam Alster/Flash90 - נועם מושקוביץ, דוברות הכנסת

Israel’s Knesset voted Thursday night to pass the Citizenship Law, allowing the Interior Ministry to limit the ability of Palestinian Arabs to secure residency rights in Israel via family reunification.

The bill was passed in its second and third readings Thursday night, with 45 MKs voting in favor and 15 opposed.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) celebrated the bill’s passage in the final vote Thursday.

“This is a Zionist law, a nationalist and security-oriented law of the first degree, which could not be abandoned over petty politics,” said Shaked.

“Cooperation between the coalition and the Opposition led to this important result for state security and the state’s Jewish identity. I thank all the Knesset Members who acted responsibly and voted for the bill.”

The bill, which passed its first reading in February, was drafted by Opposition MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party), and added several clauses – aimed at greater transparency - not found in Shaked’s draft of the bill or the previously passed version.

An extension of a 2003 emergency measure imposed during the Second Intifada, the Citizenship Law amends Israel’s family reunification regulations, allowing the Interior Ministry to deny Israeli residency to Palestinian Arabs married to Israeli citizens.

The amendment has been extended by the Knesset annually, but failed to pass in a vote last year, over challenges by the Opposition.