HaMoked to the Knesset Committee set to consider the prolongation of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law: the time has come to re-examine the Law’s provisions before approving its extension המוקד להגנת הפרט
30.05.2016
HaMoked to the Knesset Committee set to consider the prolongation of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law: the time has come to re-examine the Law’s provisions before approving its extension
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On June 15, 2015, in approving for the 16th time (!) the validity extension of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), the Knesset also approved the establishing of a joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee tasked with considering any future government request to extend the Law’s validity before it is brought before the Knesset plenum. The joint committee is to recommend to the Knesset whether to approve the extension as requested or for a modified period, or to reject it. The committee will convene for the first time on June 1, 2016, to discuss the possibility of extending yet again the validity of the Law.

On May 30, 2016, HaMoked sent a letter to the committee members, presenting its position whereby the Citizenship and Entry into Israel is unconstitutional and should be cancelled. HaMoked emphasized that the Law was harming particularly children and people in difficult humanitarian situations; HaMoked recalled the repeated occasions where the court criticized the state and urged the legislator to abandon the sweeping freeze policy imposed on family unification processes.

However, as the legislator is unlikely to cancel the Law at present, HaMoked also urged the committee members to pursue the lesser evil and at least demand that several changes be made in the Law, as a condition for recommending its extension. These are the main necessary changes listed by HaMoked:
  • Partial exemption for children of East Jerusalem residents – a child who comes under the Law, whose Israeli status application was filed after s/he reached age 14, should be given temporary status at least, rather than renewable military stay permits as done at present. Temporary status would afford such children basic social security rights, which every child must have, without impairing the alleged security goal of the Law, given that this status must be renewed periodically, subject to strict and extensive security checks.
  • Cancelation of the discriminatory condition, whereby only people who have a relative lawfully residing in Israel may apply to the Humanitarian Committee, authorized under the Law to assist people suffering from severe health problems or in life crises such as widowhood or divorce.
  • Lowering the stipulated threshold age for spousal family unification with OPT residents – which stands at 25 for women and 35 for men – to better correspond with the reality of life of the Palestinian population, where marriage is usually entered into at younger ages. HaMoked noted that this age restriction forces many families to live apart or establish their home outside Israel.
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