Israeli Knesset moves towards expanding the scope of the discriminatory Admissions Committees Law

Adalah warns the Ministerial Committee on Legislation that the proposed bill will deepen racial discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and in the OPT and violate international law.
Update: ahead of a scheduled session (16 January 2022) in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation concerning the expansion of the scope of the discriminatory “Admissions Committees Law”, Adalah sent a follow-up letter reiterating its opposition to the bill.

CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s follow-up
Later that day, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation postponed the session in two weeks. 


Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel called on members of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to reject the proposal to expand the scope of the applicability of the 2011 "Admissions Committees Law." The law prescribes that communities in the Naqab (Negev) in the south and in the Galilee in the north of up to 400 households can operate admissions committees to determine who will be permitted to buy land or even to reside in the community. The law permits admissions committees to reject applicants because they are "socially unsuitable" to live in these communities based on the "social and cultural fabric of the town". The Committees, in practice, filter out Arab Palestinian applicants and others from marginalized groups. The proposed amendment is intended to expand the applicability of the Admissions Committees Law to community towns of up to 600 households and to communities located in additional areas, including the Occupied West Bank.


CLICK HERE to read the 2011 "Admissions Committees Law" [English translation]


CLICK HERE to read to the proposed amendment [Hebrew]


In response to the proposed amendment, on 11 December 2021, Adalah sent a letter to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and the Attorney General.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah's letter [Hebrew]


In the letter, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara argued that although the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition against the law filed by Adalah in 2011, the judgment was based on the ripeness doctrine in Israeli constitutional law – that the case was premature for decision - rather than on the merits of the arguments. Thus, the law, as it currently stands, is still subject to constitutional review, especially that four justices of the Court ruled that the 2011 amendment to the law is, fully or partially, unconstitutional due to its disproportionate violation of the right to equality.


See: HCJ 2504/11, Adalah, et al v. The Knesset, et al. (decision delivered 17 September 2014).


Petition [Hebrew]


Judgment [Hebrew]


Summary of the Judgment [English translation]  


Additionally, Adalah argued that expanding the law's applicability to the West Bank constitutes annexation of occupied territories. The proposed bill seeks to replace norms of international humanitarian law and instead apply Israeli law to the Occupied West Bank in the field of land management, contrary to Supreme Court judgments and international law.


In the letter, Adalah cited the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing concerning the right to non-discrimination published in October 2021. In his report, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the effects of discrimination – such as by the Admissions Committees Law - in housing faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel and by Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory resulting in “direct and indirect segregation”.


Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara stated:

"The Admissions Committees Law, as it exists today, legitimizes the filtering out of "undesirable" applicants and is a mechanism of racial segregation in Israel. The purpose of the proposed bill is to deepen and expand this vision of separation in the form of the principle of Jewish settlement, as it is also expressed in the Jewish Nation-State Law, to illegally annex to the state even more Palestinian territories in the West Bank.”


Related Press Releases:


Israeli Supreme Court upholds "Admissions Committees Law" that allows Israeli Jewish communities to exclude Palestinian Arab citizens – 17 September 2014


Expanded Panel of 9 Supreme Court Justices Hears Case against “Admissions Committee Law” - 11 December 2012


Israeli Attorney General Supports Discriminatory Admission Committees Law - 29 January 2012


Israeli Supreme Court Hears Adalah's Petition Demanding Cancellation of "Admission Committees" - 3 February 2011


Adalah: There are now 695 communities in Israel where Arab citizens of the state are forbidden to live - 4 November 2010