Israel plans to renew law that keeps out Palestinian spouses aimed at restricting the growth of Israel’s Arab minority. Although critics call this as a ‘racist’ measure against the Arab minority, supporters say it’s needed for security purposes and to preserve Israel’s Jewish character.
Israel’s Parliament is set to vote on Monday on whether to renew a temporary law first enacted in 2003 that bars Arab citizens of Israel from extending citizenship or even residency to spouses from the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
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The law creates an array of difficulties for Palestinian families that span the war-drawn and largely invisible frontiers separating Israel from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, territories it seized in the 1967 war that the Palestinians want for a future state. “You want your security, it’s no problem, you can check each case by itself,” said Taiseer Khatib. His wife of more than 15 years, from the West Bank city of Jenin, must regularly apply for permits to live with him and their three children in Israel. “There’s no need for this collective punishment just because you are Palestinian,” he said.
Israel’s dominant right-wing parties strongly support the law, and it has been renewed every year since being enacted. But Israel’s new government includes opponents of the measure, and the right-wing opposition led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it won’t provide the votes needed to renew the law. Ahead of the vote, PM Naftali Bennett called on Mr. Netanyahu to join him in renewing the law. “Harming state security for a quarter of a political point is not the right thing to do,” he said.