Upon the Citizenship Law’s Expiration, the State Must Prepare to Process Status Applications
With the long overdue expiration of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, ACRI appealed to the Executive Director of the Population and Immigration Authority demanding that the Authority immediately begin preparations to process the incoming status-applications of Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens and residents. In our appeal, ACRI Attorney and Legal Department Director, Oded Feller, made clear that the moment the emergency order expired, the Population and Immigration Authority lost the legal authority to treat such family members any differently than other applicants, and that they are now eligible to obtain any status, including citizenship and permanent residency.
“Given the nature of the basic rights at hand, it is incumbent upon the Population and Immigration Authority to work to process these status requests without delay, and to do so with open hearts and minds, fairly; free of discrimination or weighty bureaucracy, without turning these procedures into a ‘hopeless war of attrition’ (High Court of Justice, Case No. 7139/02, Abbas-Batsa vs. Minister of the Interior, P.D. Naz(3) 481, 489 (2003))” noted the appeal. “Moreover, the very grave violation of families’ most basic rights over many years, imposes an active obligation on the Population and Immigration Authority to immediately and proactively aid in healing what the law harmed, and to actualize their rights as soon as possible.”
On July 11, 2021, the Galei Tzahal media outlet published that the Population and Authority employees were instructed not to begin processing requests for citizenship or permanent residency of anyone for whom the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was applicable until its expiry. This directive, according to the publication, was to receive these requests yet refrain from processing them. The Population and Immigration Authority replied that their procedure regarding this matter will be published promptly. We appealed to the Director of the Authority to clarify that issuing such a directive is illegal.