Thursday brought more aggravation for the new coalition, with the expectation of failure to extend the law preventing family unifications between Arabs, where one spouse holds Israeli citizenship and the other resides in a Palestinian Authority-controlled area. The law is designed, among other things, to prevent Arabs from entering into fictitious marriages for the purpose of freely entering Israel.
The United Arab List, headed by MK Mansour Abbas who brought his party into the coalition led by Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, refuses to vote in favor of extending the law, depriving the coalition of four votes out of its total of 61 MKs. The Likud and Religious Zionism parties have also vowed to oppose the government on this issue, even though extending the law is usually supported by the entire right wing. And now another member of the government, MK Mossi Raz of the far-left Meretz party, has announced that he, too, will be opposing the law’s extension, “because it is a law that discriminates and imposes limitations on Arab citizens, a law that establishes whom he is permitted to love and whom not, and a law that views all Arab citizens as demographic and security threats.”
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) has already indicated that his party will only support the extension of the family reunification ban if the government also passes a law regulating Young Settlements. Zohar added that, “The new coalition is simply incapable of protecting the State of Israel and maintaining it as Jewish and democratic state.”
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that she would be bringing the extension of the family reunification ban to a Knesset vote next Monday, even though it appears that the government will lack a majority to pass it. “I refuse to believe that the Opposition will damage the security of the State in the name of playing political games,” she wrote on Twitter. “I have no doubt that the head of the opposition will keep the promises he made as regards Israel’s security. There is no opposition and coalition in matters such as these – we’re all on the same page here.”
The coming challenge for the government – if it surmounts this one – will be to pass a state budget, which is to be a biannual budget for the years 2021 and 2022. According to the coalition agreements signed between Yesh Atid and Yamina, if the Knesset is dissolved due to failure to pass a budget, the date set for the rotation of the premiership is advanced.