Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law


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The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 5763 is an Israeli law first passed on 31 July, 2003 and most recently extended in June 2008.[1] The law makes inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip ineligible for the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship and residency permits that is usually available through marriage to an Israeli citizen (ie Family reunification).



The law originated in a 2002 Cabinet order freezing the issuance of citizenship on family reunification grounds between Israeli citizens and residents of areas governed by the Palestinian Authority. Renewal of the law's effect in mid-2005 relaxed some of its condition by restricting its scope to those families where the husband is under 35 years of age and the wife is under 25 years old. In the interim the law was tested against Israel's Basic Laws, which operate in a manner similar to a constitution, when the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, filed a 2003 petition to have the law struck down.[2]

The law was upheld in a split 6-5 High Court decision rendered in 2006, but the decision criticized a number of aspects of the law.[3] In particular, the minority judgement, written by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, emphasized the temporary nature of the law's effect, arguing that "the appropriate goal of increasing security is not justifying severe harm to many thousands of Israeli citizens."

A draft bill to replace the law rather than seek a second renewal following the expiry of its application in January, 2007, sought to expand the areas targeted by the law beyond Palestinian Authority-controlled areas to include other regions with which Israel is in a state of military conflict.[4]


Those in favor of the law, such as Ze'ev Boim, say it is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and that "We have to maintain the state's democratic nature, but also its Jewish nature."[3]

Critics argue that the law is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects Israeli Arabs, since Israeli Arabs are far more likely to have spouses from the West Bank and Gaza Strip than other Israeli citizens.[5] Such critics have included the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which unanimously approved a resolution stating that the Israeli law violated an international human rights treaty against racism;[6] and Amnesty International, which has argued that "[i]n its current form the law is discriminatory and violates fundamental principles of equality, human dignity, personal freedom and privacy, enshrined in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, as well as the right of children to live with both parents, and other fundamental rights enshrined in international human rights treaties to which Israel is a party and which it is obliged to uphold." [7] When the law was renewed in June 2008, the publisher of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz argued that its existence makes Israel into an apartheid state.[1]

External links


  1. ^ a b Amos Schocken,Citizenship law makes Israel an apatheid state, Ha'aretz, 27 June 2008
  2. ^ Ben Lynfield. "Marriage law divides Israeli Arab families". Christian Science Monitor. 
  3. ^ a b Ben Lynfield. "Arab spouses face Israeli legal purge". The Scotsman. 
  4. ^ Ilan Shahar. "Gov't seeks to extend order that can curb Arab family reunification". Ha'aretz English Edition. 
  5. ^ "Israeli marriage law blocks citizenship for Palestinians". San Francisco Chronicle. 2003-08-01. 
  6. ^ "UN blasts Israeli marriage law". BBC News. 2003-08-15. 
  7. ^ "Briefing to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women". Amnesty International. June 2005. 

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