Last week, the Knesset finally passed the Citizenship Law, a controversial piece of legislation at the best of times and especially now with an Arab party in the coalition. It has now emerged that prior to the Knesset vote, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked threated MK Mansour Abbas, head of the coalition's United Arab List, saying, "From my perspective, if there's no Citizenship Law, it's all over."
According to a report on Kan News, Shaked's threat was what convinced Abbas to refrain from causing a commotion over the law. His party's MKs voted "against" but did not create the feared crisis within the government.
Meanwhile, MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism) expressed his satisfaction with the passage of the Law. "We said from day one that if there were caps [on the number of Palestinians granted citizenship] then we would be able to support the Law. Shaked kept insisting that there would be no caps, but in the end, she capitulated entirely," he told Radio 103FM.
"At the end of the day, I still thanked the government," he added, "as they passed our law and acceeded to all our requests."
Rothman added that his party's assessment had been that even if the Law did not pass, the government would not fall, despite what Shaked told Abbas.
Shortly after the Law passed, Meretz minister Issawi Frej intimated that there would be a "price to pay" for the legislation's approval; he did not clarify his statement. MK Rothman commented, however, that the view within his party was that the government was likely to give in to the UAL's demands in the Negev regardless of whether the Citizenship Law passed or not.