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Vote on Controversial Entry Law Postponed

A controversial law forbidding Palestinians to live with their Israeli spouses in Israel is being voted on by members of the Knesset on July 31.

Until now, any Palestinian who married an Israeli could reside in Israel and eventually gain citizenship. Since 1993, 130,000 Palestinians have become residents of Israel through marriage, according to Internal Affairs and Environment Committee Chairman Yuri Stern.

The Internal Affairs and Environment Committee voted to forward the bill to a full parliamentary vote early on Wednesday by a count of 8-0, according to Yafa Shapira, manager of the committee.

If accepted by the Knesset, the law will be enforced for a year, with the possibility for extension, Stern said.

The vote on the bill was supposed to take place on Tuesday, but was postponed to Thursday due to heated debates among members of the committee as well as with the committee’s legal adviser Miriam Frenkel-Shor, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Leftist MKs and human rights groups denounced the law as being discriminatory against Palestinians and inhumane for separating families.

“This a war-time law, not a normal law,” said Stern. “If we were not at war with the Palestinians, the legislation would be different.”

The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, stated that many Palestinians who have entered Israel have been involved in terrorist attacks against Israel.

Citizens have full access to the state’s social services; residents are eligible for certain benefits.

The Interior Ministry will have jurisdiction over the law if it is passed.