Why the Family-Reunification Law Matters

July 13 2021

In Israel’s latest major political dust-up, the Knesset last week failed to renew a law that withholds automatic residency rights and citizenship from Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens. The law was first passed in 2003 and has been renewed annually since. Nadav Shragai explains the circumstances that gave rise to it in the first place:

On March 31, 2002, days after the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya, there was another suicide bombing, this one at the Matza restaurant in Haifa. Sixteen Israelis, including three fathers with their children, were killed. The bomber, Shadi Tubasi, was an Israeli citizen who lived in [the West Bank town of] Jenin. His mother, Naja, originally from the village of Muqabla in [northern Israel], had married a man from Jenin 30 years earlier, and even though she never returned to her home village, she retained Israeli citizenship.

Thanks to the “family-reunification” policy [suspended by the 2003 law], through Naja, her husband and children—including her suicide bomber son—all obtained Israeli citizenship. Shadi exploited his, and the freedom of movement it gave him, to travel to Haifa where he carried out his horrific attack. About a third of the households in his village Muqabla were mixed Palestinian and Arab Israeli couples.

Back then, before Israel’s citizenship and entry laws were amended by a temporary order that revoked citizenship or residency from Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who had married Arab Israelis, dozens of Palestinian terrorists used their Israeli citizenship to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Israel. According to figures from the security establishment for 2001-2016, children of family reunification represent about 5 percent of the country’s Arab [citizens], but 15 percent of Arab Israeli terrorists.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli politics, Israeli Security, Knesset, Palestinian terror

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship