Vote on Palestinian family reunification law delayed again, amid disagreements


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Vote on Palestinian family reunification law delayed again, amid disagreements
Opposition lawmakers shout ‘cowards’ at meeting of Knesset Arrangements Committee, after legislation again pulled from agenda
By TOI staff

Legislation extending a law barring Palestinian family reunification was again pulled from the agenda at a Knesset committee meeting on Sunday, due to an ongoing dispute that threatens its passage. The provision, which has been renewed annually since 2003, blocks the automatic granting of citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens. The new government is internally divided over the issue, and while most opposition lawmakers support the law in principle, they have refused to step in to back it in the hopes of embarrassing the new government. The current legislation expires on July 6.

At a meeting of the Knesset Arrangements Committee on Sunday, committee chair Idit Silman (Yamina) postponed a vote on advancing the bill to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, when it became clear that there was no majority to do so. Members of the opposition began shouting in response: “Cowards, cowards, cowards!” Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir was forcibly removed from the committee hearing when he refused to stop shouting. Members of the opposition originally intended to boycott the proceedings of the committee, claiming it was unfair to hold them on the 17th of Tammuz, a Jewish fast day. The lawmakers ended up attending, as they were informed that a vote on the reunification law would be held, and were then furious when it was pulled from the day’s agenda.