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High Court to Shaked: Stop enforcing expired ‘Citizenship Law’ on Palestinian spouses

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, October 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, October 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The High Court orders Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to cease her implicit ban on Palestinian spouses receiving residency in Israel, saying that she is attempting to enforce a law that expired in July.

“The basic rules of administrative law do not allow the enforcement of a law that is no longer on the books,” Justice Dafna Barak-Erez writes in a ruling issuing a temporary injunction to Shaked to lift the ban.

In July, the Citizenship Law expired following a dramatic predawn vote. The right-wing opposition, led by Likud, voted against renewing the law in an attempt to embarrass the coalition. Two Ra’am coalition parliamentarians also abstained.

After the law expired, Shaked instructed ministry staff to continue as though the ban were still valid until further notice. Shaked has pushed for even stricter controls on Palestinian immigration to Israel in the past, and has vowed to pass the law again in the coming weeks.

Civil rights groups appealed what they decried as a violation of the rule of law. Their case is currently pending in the Jerusalem District Court; Barak-Erez’s ruling today serves a temporary injunction until the end of those proceedings.

An official close to Shaked says: “The minister intends in the coming weeks to re-enact the law. Hopefully the opposition that toppled the law before will not act against the state.”

Barak-Erez scoffs at that claim in her ruling, quoting a previous Supreme Court filing: “No government office can base [its actions] on predicted legislation. They must act under the law as it is.”

The Citizenship Law has been wildly controversial since its inception. Israeli politicians initially justified it on security grounds, while rights groups charge it discriminates against Palestinians and Arab Israelis. The Supreme Court upheld the law in a 6-5 decision in 2012 after a protracted legal battle.

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