Opinion: If the former PM and his allies say there is no merit to a law they renewed each year when they were in power, thereby sidelining Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state, why would Supreme Court uphold the spirit of the law in future appeals to admit more Palestinians?
United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni during the Knesset vote on extending the Citizenship Law (Photo: The Knesset)
There is no validity to any of the reasons from the right-wing and Haredi opposition parties as to why they voted against the extension of the law denying permanent status to Palestinians married to Israelis.
They claim to have prepared a draft proposal for a basic law to regulate immigration that would mean the citizenship law no longer needed to be extended.
Such a law may indeed be a good idea, but Likud and their erstwhile coalition partners had 12 years to table it when they were in power, and would most likely have won the support of centrist parties as well.
Now former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accusing Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked of thwarting the planned bill during her stint as his justice minister.
Shaked denies the accusation, saying Netanyahu’s long-time interior minister, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, refused to allow the draft legislation to advance to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Netanyahu’s claims appear to be false, but that’s just politics.
Members of the coalition and the opposition can keep squabbling over irrelevant matters, but the important question is how Israel intends to safeguard its future as a Jewish and democratic state.
The citizenship law has many faults that, compounded by a lack of enforcement by the Interior Ministry, resulted in the approval of more than half of all requests to allow West Bank Palestinians to reside in Israel with their Israelis spouses.
The previous government should have approved no more than 15% of requests in order to prevent an increase in the non-Jewish population. And the Knesset vote to reject an extension of the law will only result in more requests from Palestinians being approved.
Right-wing opposition factions know full well that their proposed basic law on immigration will be struck down by the Supreme Court.
Legislation to reduce the courts’ ability to strike down laws was also never advanced in the 12 years that Netanyahu as in office, despite its importance.
Netanyahu has shown repeatedly that he is unable to muster parliamentary support for a government with him at its helm, so he is trying to bring down the alternative coalition.
He and his political allies insist on cutting off the coalition’s nose to spite the country’s face. Had the right-wing and religious parties succeeded in bringing down the coalition, Israel would have been faced with yet another election cycle – after having already endured four in two years.
But if Netanyahu and his cohorts saw no merit to a law that they renewed every year when they were in power, thereby stating that Israel’s security and its future as both Jewish and Democratic is unimportant, why would the Supreme Court uphold the spirit of the law in future appeals, and prevent the influx of more Palestinians into the country?