Eleven Justice Panel of Israeli Supreme Court Holds Hearing on Citizenship Law Case; Court Orders State to Provide New Data on Why the Law is Needed for Security Reasons

Adalah: The Citizenship Law is the Most Racist Law in Israel and has no Parallel in any Democratic State in the World



On 2 March 2010, an expanded 11-Justice panel of the Supreme Court of Israel held a hearing on petitions submitted Adalah, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and other human rights organizations and political leaders against the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) – 2003. Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Sawsan Zaher submitted the petition and Attorney Zaher represented the case before the court.

At the hearing, the Attorney General's office argued that the law was necessary for security reasons. The Supreme Court ordered the state to provide updated data, within thirty days, on the number of requests for family unification, the number of requests that were denied, and the number of people who entered Israel on the basis of family unification and were found by the state to have been “involved in operations against the security of the state.”

The day before the hearing, four right-wing groups requested to join the state in defending the law, including Im Tirtzu.

The law bans Palestinians from the OPT who marry citizens of Israel from obtaining any legal status in Israel. It therefore prevents Palestinian citizens of the state, since it is overwhelmingly Palestinian citizens who marry Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), from realizing their right to a family life in Israel. In March 2007, the Knesset expanded the ban on family unification to citizens of “enemy states”, namely Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, and to “anyone living in an area in which operations that constitute a threat to the State of Israel are being carried out,” according to security reports presented to the government. Although the law was enacted as a “temporary order”, it has now been extended numerous times since 2003.

At the last court hearing on the case in March 2009, Adalah submitted three expert opinions from international legal experts in the UK, South Africa and the Open Society Justice Initiative, who argued that the Citizenship Law violated the right to family life, and is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Case citation: HCJ 830/07, Adalah et al. v. The Minister of the Interior, et al.

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