Israel extends ban on immigration through marriage

Israeli Arabs currently number some 1.4 million, or 20 percent of population.

Jerusalem: Israel on Sunday extended for six months a ban preventing Palestinians married to Israelis to immigrate to the Jewish state, the Premier`s office said in a statement.

"The ministerial committee for security affairs decided tonight (Sunday) to extend for six months a text on family unification, which expired December 31," said a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

That extension until June 30 denies Palestinians the right to acquire Israeli citizenship or resident status through marriage.

The so-called Family Unification provision has been the subject of an outcry from leftist movements and groups representing the country`s Arab minority, who charge the ban is "inhumane" and "racist”.

The ministerial committee also asked the justice minister "to work towards early finalisation of a law on family unification, which will meet the national security and long-term interests of the government of Israel," the statement added.

The Israeli government is concerned that uncontrolled immigration could slowly erode the state`s Jewish identity.

Israeli Arabs currently number some 1.4 million, or 20 percent of the population.

Bureau Report

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