The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law
The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prohibits the spouse of an Israeli citizen from acquiring legal status and access to rights in Israel if the spouse is from the West Bank or Gaza.
Many are hearing about this phenomenon for the first time as the government struggles to come to a consensus on the law. ACRI has been fighting against it for the past two decades, filing petitions for its repeal in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2012. The law's official purpose is to prevent the entry of potential security threats into Israel—but, in practice, the policy disproportionately violates the rights of Arab citizens of Israel and deprives their spouses of acquiring legal status and rights, including access to health insurance, social security, drivers licenses, education, and employment. The majority of those effected are women, who live in fear of immediate deportation and separation from their children.
Since then, ACRI has been fighting case-by-case legal battles to chip away at the discriminatory effects of this law, including:
appealing to the Director of the Population and Immigration Authority demanding they automatically renew family-unification permits for Palestinians living in Israel.
appealing to the Minister of Defense and acting Deputy Head of the Legal Aid Division demanding that Arab citizens and their Palestinian spouses receive legal aid and representation in matters regarding status.
filing a petition against the Population and Immigration Authority demanding that they stop requiring Israeli citizens related to residents of the Occupied Territories to prove that their life is based in Israel as a condition for receiving registration and documentation services.
On 6.7.2021, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law expired.
With its expiration, we:
Published a rights booklet in Arabic and Hebrew for Palestinian family members of citizens and residents of Israel;
Appealed to the Population and Immigration Authority, demanding immediate preparations for processing applications regarding the status of Palestinian family members of Israeli citizens and residents;
Emphasized that the Population and Immigration Authority has no legal authority to discriminate against these family members and their applications, and that these applicants are to be treated the same as any other status applicants.