A bill to allow town acceptance committees for larger communities and settlements was passed into law after final readings in the Knesset on Tuesday night.
Passing with 41 in favor and 11 against, the amendment to the 2011 law would increase the size of towns able to screen aspiring residents from 400 families to 700.
The bill was merged with other similar legislation before the second and third readings, with initiators Otzma Yehudit MK Yitzhak Kreuzer and National Unity MK Sharren Haskel welcoming the passing of the legislation.
"We passed in the second and third readings the bill to strengthen the Negev and the Galilee," Kreuzer wrote on Facebook. "Strengthening the periphery, strengthening the State of Israel. We promised -- we kept it!"
Haskel said that she was proud of the bill, which would allow towns that are still growing to expand.
"This is an important step for Zionist settlement in the State of Israel," said Haskel.
Adalah: Acceptance committees exclude Arabs and Palestinians
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel attacked the passing of the law as entrenching racial segregation in the country.
The original law allows community towns such as Moshavim and Kibbutzim to check the suitability of potential residents to ensure that they fit into the social fabric and structure of the town. The 2011 law did not allow the rejection of candidates based on "race, religion, gender, nationality, disability, class, age, parentage, sexual orientation, country of origin, views or party political affiliation."
In practice, Adalah said that the acceptance committees exclude Arabs and Palestinians from living in communities built on state-controlled land.
"No one is trying to conceal the racist purpose of the law, which aims to continue and promote the values anchored in the Jewish Nation-State Law, to establish and expand Jewish settlements," said Adalah in a Tuesday night statement. "At every stage of the legislative process, including by presenting opinions of Shin Bet personnel, Knesset members emphasized their intention to promote the same nationalist values. By using the term 'communal,' they mean racial segregation and an apartheid policy against Palestinian citizens in Israel. Therefore, Adalah will file a petition to the Supreme Court against this law."
Adalah had previously petitioned the court against the law in 2011, but said that it had rejected the case in 2014 in a split decision.