Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law: Ban on Discrimination in Family Reunifications

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On July 6, 2021, the Knesset refused to extend the temporary provision in the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (hereinafter, “the Citizenship Law”), by virtue of which the state has denied family reunifications for almost 20 years. Upon the repeal of the temporary provision, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked refused to apply to Palestinian applicants the standard procedure for the acquisition of status in Israel and ordered her ministry officials to breach the law and treat the repealed temporary provision as if it were still in effect.

In response, the Association for Civil Rights, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights, and the victims of Shaked’s decision appealed to the Jerusalem District Court on September 14, 2021 and subsequently to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled on January 11, 2022 that the Interior Ministry was not permitted to proceed as if the temporary provision were still in force and must proceed in accordance with the law as is. Among other things, the court wrote that “at this time, the temporary provision is no longer valid. This being the case, it is indisputable that the basic rules of administrative law do not allow for the enforcement of statutory provisions that are no longer in effect” (Supreme Court Ruling 7917/021, Article 14, Hebrew). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court refrained from ruling on the issue and referred it back to the District Court. The state announced that it would finalize the formulation of a temporary procedure by January 16, 2022 but failed to meet this deadline. Consequently, a request was filed for a contempt of court order, which is still under discussion (Supreme Court Ruling 7912/021, Hebrew).

As of this writing, Interior Minister Shaked refuses to address the applications of 1,680 families left in limbo and has declared that she intends to put again to a Knesset vote the old version of the Citizenship Law as endorsed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. Even though Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and the Meretz party have appealed the decision, the government is expected to resubmit the law for discussion in the Knesset. In contrast, on the table is a bill formulated by Zulat for Equality and Human Rights that calls for banning discrimination in family reunifications. We believe this is the law that Israel needs today.



Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.