Shaked working toward compromise on immigration reform

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked took a step Wednesday toward extending an ordinance preventing Palestinians and residents of enemy countries from obtaining Israeli citizenship via marriage.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, and Yamina MK Idit Silman ahead of the Citizenship Law vote, July 6, 2021 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, and Yamina MK Idit Silman ahead of the Citizenship Law vote, July 6, 2021
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked took a step Wednesday toward extending an ordinance preventing Palestinians and residents of enemy countries from obtaining Israeli citizenship or residency permits by marrying Israelis.

She republished the controversial Citizenship Law that was defeated in the Knesset in July, in order to bring it to a vote again as early as next month. The law has been passed annually since 2003.

A vote on a stricter immigration bill of Religious Zionist Party MK Simcha Rothman that was supposed to take place on Wednesday was postponed by a week.

Rothman said that in the week ahead he will negotiate with Shaked and other officials in the coalition in an effort to reach an agreement that would enable closing Israel’s borders and protecting the Jewish identity and security of the state.

He said he is glad the government is engaging in dialogue with the Right on the issue and not only with Meretz and Ra’am (United Arab List).

MK Mansour Abbas (Ra'am), October 4, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)MK Mansour Abbas (Ra'am), October 4, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

“The vote fell in July because Ayelet refused to talk to us in the opposition,” Rothman said. “Now there are serious negotiations on how to close the breaches in our borders. It’s my job to prevent the Palestinian Law of Return from being implemented. Because there is a chance, I will wait with my bill.”

But sources close to Shaked said Rothman lied and that their negotiations would be about the existing citizenship law and not his bill, which they said had no chance of passing.

Shaked would prefer to pass the law with the support of the Likud and Rothman’s party, instead of Meretz and Ra’am, which made demands that she accepted before the vote in July. Those agreements are no longer in play, the sources said.

Ra’am is demanding changes in the law that would ease family reunification for 2,000 families as a condition for passing the state budget.

Mansour Abbas’s party also demanded a framework for legalizing construction in Arab towns, and connecting unrecognized Bedouin villages to electricity as conditions for obtaining the party’s four votes. The party denied reports that it is also demanding that Bedouin villages be recognized immediately.