Citizens of Arab countries not to be denied status automatically

The directive issued by the Prime Minister to the General Security Services (GSS) has been cancelled: The State of Israel no longer automatically rejects applications by citizens of Arab countries for formal residency status in Israel

The Attorney General informed the court at the end of last week that requests by spouses of Israeli citizens who are citizens of Arab countries, for formal residency status in Israel, will not be automatically rejected, and each request will be assessed individually. The statement was made in response to a petition submitted by ACRI last October against the Minster of the Interior, The Prime Minster, and the GSS, to demand the cancellation of the sweeping instructions by the Prime Minister to the GSS, to stop giving security clearance to citizens of Arab countries undergoing the naturalization process. The result of the aforementioned regulation is the immediate cessation of the naturalization procedure. The petition was submitted by ACRI Attorney Oded Feller.

The Prime Minister’s order was made public on 25.8.04, in an article by Yair Ettinger in the Ha’aretz newspaper, and its existence was officially confirmed by the Prime Minster’s Office. In his response to ACRI’s petition the Attorney General did not deny that such an order had been issued, and he made it clear that currently such an order does not exist.

ACRI stated in the petition, that the directive issued by the Prime Minister was done with no authorization, and must be differentiated from the prohibition on granting Israeli residency status to Palestinians, which is based on the amendment to the Law of Citizenship and Entry into Israel. Several petitions have been submitted to the Supreme Court against this amendment, including a petition that was submitted by ACRI and has been pending for an extensive period of time. The directive, the petition claims, severely violates the basic right to family life, and represents an illegitimate discrimination of spouses of Israeli citizens for reasons of nationality and race. Arab origins, and this alone, the petition adds, represents the sole factor by which formal residency status is denied without any substantive consideration of the individual cases.

In his response to the Supreme Court the Attorney General adopted ACRI’s position, and announced that applications by citizens of Arab countries will be considered in an individual and substantive manner, and will not be automatically rejected.

last updated : 22/03/05

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties, The Right to Family


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