Mossawa Center: approval of the Citizenship Law is a continuation of racist policy of family separation targeting Palestinian Arab citizens
After being rejected in July of 2021, the Citizenship Law (also known as the Unification Law) was approved by the Knesset on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, after the first reading. The Citizenship Law is widely regarded as one of the most racist laws in the country, with the intent of preventing spouses from the occupied Palestinian territories or other countries from obtaining Israeli residency in the event of marriage to a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel.
Prior to the vote, Mossawa Center urged Knesset members from the left and center blocs to vote against the law, citing the fact that it violates the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty, as well as the fact that the law will not provide security and safety to anyone because it prevents the unification of entire families.
According to Mossawa Center data, there are approximately 30,000 families in which neither the spouse nor the children can obtain a nationality or even apply for naturalization. In many cases, they are even barred from crossing the Green Line.
This law primarily affects financially vulnerable families from the lowest socioeconomic levels. The law not only further harms these families financially, but also psychologically, as many of the families' children generally live with only one of their parents.
It is worth noting that the Knesset temporarily enacted this law in 2003, and it has been renewed annually since then. It failed to be renewed in July, 2021, prompting Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to request a re-vote on the law and approve it under false security pretexts.
The Mossawa Center will continue to work to prevent the law's extension and to stand by affected families in order to bring down this law which contradicts the basic pillars of human dignity and freedom.