Mossawa Calls for Anti-Poverty Measures, Condemns Citizenship Law

Date: 2016/07/12
The Mossawa Center called on lawmakers to take more progressive action on poverty and civil rights issues in the Knesset on Monday morning.

The Mossawa Center called on lawmakers to take more progressive action on poverty and civil rights issues in the Knesset on Monday morning.

 

Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah spoke out at a meeting of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women regarding the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” Law. Farah condemned the measure for its impact on women and the Arab community in Israel.

 

The Citizenship Law was renewed by the Knesset on June 13th for a fourteenth year. The law prevents Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza from obtaining legal status in Israel through their families. Further, Israeli citizens or residents who marry Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza cannot pass their legal status on to their children.

 

Alongside women from the Arab community, Farah spoke to the committee about the unjust consequences of the Citizenship Law. In the divided city of Baqa al Gharbiyye, for example, the Mossawa Center works with many women at an economic empowerment center who must live separately from their husbands in the West Bank. Their husbands live on the other side of the wall that divides their city and an indefinitely-closed checkpoint separates them from both their wives and children. The women and their children are therefore forced to travel outside of the city for half an hour in order to cross to the other side and see one another.

 

Committee Chairwoman MK Aida Touma-Suleiman called the separation of 24,000 Arab families “a ticking time bomb produced by the state.”

 

The Citizenship Law was first introduced as an emergency provision in 2002 but now represents racist, ineffective collective punishment against Arab citizens in Israel.

 

Farah also spoke out at a meeting of the Knesset Welfare Committee, calling on Committee Chairman MK Eli Alaluf and other lawmakers to push for strong, equitable legislation to combat poverty. The committee met to discuss a series of anti-poverty proposals by MK Alaluf with a total budget of 254 million Shekels. In addition, the Mossawa staff called on a number of MKs to cooperate and further pressure the relevant ministries to adopt and fund anti-poverty proposals. Among the measures discussed by the committee was a bill by MK Meir Cohen that would limit the number of cases a social worker can be assigned. Monday’s Welfare Committee meeting will be followed by further meetings in which the Committees on Health, Employment, Education and Housing will also meet to review proposals to combat poverty.

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