Knesset expected to pass bill nixing residency for Palestinians who marry Israelis

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

The Knesset is expected today to pass a new version of the so-called “Citizenship Law,” which largely prevents Palestinians who marry Israelis from obtaining permanent residency. The law had been renewed annually by every Knesset since its first enactment in 2003, until last year.

Likud, Religious Zionism, United Torah Judaism, and Shas are supposed to contribute 53 votes in support of the measure, according to a spokeswoman for Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, who has been a main force behind inserting changes to the law as part of a deal for opposition support. Their votes are necessary to pass the law, which lacks the backing of coalition member parties Meretz and Ra’am.

After two weeks of committee discussions aimed at unifying the government and private bills proposed by Rothman, New Hope MK Zvi Hauser and Likud MK Avi Dichter, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee finalized the legislation this morning.

Meretz MK Mossi Raz tells The Times of Israel that the law is a “worse version” than its previous version, but that disagreements about the law will not turn into a coalition crisis. “The coalition will survive,” Raz says.

In February, the coalition faced a potential crisis when former Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi tanked a vote on an IDF enlistment law in retaliation for the coalition passing the “Citizenship Law” in its first reading. Zoabi was recently appointed consul to Shanghai. Earlier this week, Meretz and Ra’am presented the deliberating Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee with 50,000 reservations against the law, in a move to jam up the bill unification process.

Passing this law has been a coalition priority during the Knesset’s winter session, which ends today.

Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman at a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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