Coalition crisis on the horizon? Meretz to vote against law banning Palestinians from Israeli citizenship

Hebrew-language media reported that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was enraged by the left-wing parties’ refusal to cooperate with the coalition agenda.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

In what may be a sign of a brewing coalition crisis, the left-wing Meretz party announced on Thursday evening that it intends to vote against the contentious Family Reunification Law, aka Citizenship Law.

“This is a law that discriminates against a population on the basis of race, that was born in sin. Meretz has petitioned the High Court over the law in the past and will vote against it if it is brought to a vote,” the party said in a statement.

The law, which was passed at the height of the Second Intifada in 2003, prevents Palestinians married to Israelis from automatically gaining citizenship in the Jewish State.

Nearly all of the reunification requests are made by Arab Israelis on behalf of their spouses living in PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria or Gaza. Because the law primarily affects Arab families, critics have said the policy is inherently racist.

Introduced as a temporary edict that expires annually, the law has been extended for the last 18 years, with right-wing parties always voting in favor.

But while the Likud and Religious Zionism parties are ideologically supportive of the law, they plan to vote against it in order to embarrass the new government.

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The coalition’s razor-thin majority is dependent upon the Islamist Ra’am and left-wing Labor and Meretz parties. If those parties vote against the law or abstain when it is brought for a vote, it is highly unlikely to pass.

Hebrew-language media reports that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was enraged by the Meretz and Ra’am parties’ refusal to cooperate with the coalition agenda.

She allegedly threatened party heads that if they do not vote in favor of the bill, she will advance a bill that would overhaul Israel’s current immigration system, allowing for easier deportations.

Likud has suggested that if such clauses were added to the current law, they may vote in favor of the bill.