Cabinet officials clarified on Monday that an amendment to the temporary provision
of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law whereby illegal residents
who are married to Israelis and asking for citizenship must declare
allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish democratic state” has not yet been passed. The amendment is still under consideration, officials said.
Earlier reports incorrectly stated that the cabinet had approved the amendment to the temporary provision on Sunday.
The measure is designed to make it more difficult for Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs to gain citizenship on the basis of family unification.
Security officials told the cabinet that since the construction of the
West Bank security barrier, terrorist organizations had been looking to
enlist the children of couples made up of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians
to gather intelligence, prepare the groundwork for terrorist attacks,
and even carry out the attacks themselves. The officials said that
terrorist groups were trying to recruit people from this population
because their Israeli ID cards gave them freedom of movement between
Israel and the PA.
There are an estimated 25,000 Israeli Arabs married to Palestinians from
beyond the Green Line, with the phenomenon most prevalent in the
Jerusalem area. The security officials said there had been 59 cases in
recent years of one partner in such marriages, or their children, being
involved in terrorist activity.
The assumption behind the new “pledge of allegiance” is that it would
deter Palestinians from asking for citizenship, because they would not
want to be branded as collaborators.
Government officials stressed that the declaration of allegiance to a
Jewish, democratic state was intended only for illegal residents asking for
citizenship, and not – as Israel Beiteinu had put on its platform – for
Israeli Arabs already living in the country.