Thursday, June 18, 2015

Israel extends discriminatory family law for another year

  The Independent:
Israel's Knesset has extended a law that bans Palestinians married to Israelis from living with their spouses in Israel for another year.
The law was first passed in 2003 and extended in 2008, and forbids Palestinians married to Israelis from living in Israel, or becoming Israeli citizens.Many critics say that the law essentially makes marriage between Israelis and Palestinians impossible, as the couple would have to live in different countries that are very difficult to pass between.
The law was first introduced as a temporary security measure that would only last for a year, aimed at preventing potential terrorists coming into Israel through marriage.

Defending the law, Interior Minister Silvan Shalom drew attention to Palestinians who "took advantage of their status in Israel as a result of family reunification processes to become involved in terrorist activities, including aiding in carrying out suicide attacks."
He encouraged MKs to support the law, saying the security situation had worsened in recent months.
However, MK Aida Touma-Suleiman, from the Joint List, a political alliance of Arab-dominated parties, criticised the effects of the law.
 She said: "My daughter fell in love with a young, white, blonde man from Holland. I don't want to think about what would have happened if she had fallen in love with a Palestinian."
"Their situation would have looked like that of almost 20,000 families, who became involved in a love story with a Palestinian Arab."
Also criticising the law's extension was MK Zehava Gal-On, the head of left-wing Zionist party Meretz, who said: "What this bill says is that every Arab citizen becomes a potential terrorist."
 For his part, MK Daniel Atar (Zionist Union) decided to support the extension of the law, even though it was sponsored by the coalition. “We are dealing with a sensitive and problematic matter," said Atar, "since the emergency regulation combines within it elements that justify opposition, and yet on the other hand includes issues that require one to support the law. We must not be naive: Our aspiration is for a Jewish and democratic nation. I intend on supporting the extension if only to protect ourselves and the character of our country, and I call on the members of the opposition to also vote in favor."

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