The Association for Civil Rights, the Center for the Protection of the Individual, and Physicians for Human Rights petitioned the High Court on April 25, 2022, on behalf of a number of victims of the Citizenship Law. The organizations claim that the law is without individual examination, that its purpose is racist, and that it must be repealed.
The law violates a long list of basic rights of those permitted to remain in Israel, and its residents have become de facto citizens over the years. It takes away their social rights and state health insurance, limits their access to welfare services, housing, and legal aid, and more. It also makes it harder for them to find work and make a living.
The petition also claims that the law not only discriminates between the state's Arab and Jewish citizens regarding their right to family life in Israel but also separates spouses and parents from their children and undermines the values of a democratic state.
In the petition, the organizations reviewed the dramatic changes that have taken place in the two decades since the Citizenship Law was first enacted as a temporary law. The state has been careful to keep the temporary provision in place for years, citing security concerns. However, during Knesset debates on enacting the law last March and after the legislative process was finished, the law's creators and even legal entities in the government admitted that this is a demographic law and that security bodies can't justify its security purpose.
As a result of the appeal and other appeals submitted on the matter, the state informed the Supreme Court on July 27, 2023, about new regulations that have been determined. According to the announcement, women over the age of 40, who are spouses of citizens or residents of Israel, or married to residents of Jerusalem, and have held a permit for over 10 years, will be eligible to receive permanent residency. The implication is a replacement of the permit for residing in Israel, which does not grant social rights, with permanent residency that is periodically renewed with an Israeli ID, national health insurance, social security, access to social services, driving privileges, and more. It was also determined that those registered in the Palestinian registry in the West Bank or Gaza, but did not live there, will also be able to apply for this status.
Update Notice from the State, 7/27/2023 (Hebrew)
Attorneys: Oded Feller and Reut Sha'ar (Association for Civil Rights in Israel), Daniel Shenhar (HaMoked), Adi Lustigman (Physicians for Human Rights)