Israel: Citizenship Law passes in final parliament vote

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A discussion and a vote on The vote on the Citizenship Law at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on March 10, 2022.
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90A discussion and a vote on The vote on the Citizenship Law at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on March 10, 2022.

'This is a Zionist law for our national security that should not have been abandoned for narrow politics'

Israel's parliament (Knesset) held its final session before breaking for recess on Thursday, passing the controversial Citizenship Law, effectively banning Palestinians married to Israeli citizens from gaining citizenship or residency inside the country. 

After a nine-month battle, the bill passed with 45 votes in favor and 15 against. Both the United Arab List (Ra'am) and Meretz parties opposed the law. However, the right-wing parties making up the opposition voted in favor of the bill, allowing it to pass. 

The Citizenship Law was passed in 2003, during the Second Intifada, and was renewed annually until last July, when the coalition failed to gather the votes to pass it. 

The bill's sponsors explain it is necessary for security, believing that Palestinian militants may use marriage as a pretext to enter Israel. 

Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90A discussion and a vote on The vote on the Citizenship Law at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on March 10, 2022.

Opponents of the bill decry it as racist, a Meretz Knesset member saying to Ynet: "We will continue to fight this law, for the value of equality in Israel, and stand by the families affected by it in the Knesset and government." 

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who spearheaded the bill's passing, took a different tone, stating, "This is a Zionist law for our national security that should not have been abandoned for narrow politics," according to The Jerusalem Post

She declared the passing a victory for a "Jewish and democratic state" over a "state of all its citizens," Haaretz reported. 

The bill's final draft states the law will be valid for 12 months. 

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