Immigration, Family Reunification and Marriage Policy in Israel
Rinat Gilboa, Adv.
For The Full Position Paper
The composition of the population of the State reflects not only its character, but its cohesion and strength as well. Democratic states do not fear population diversity; however, democratic nation-states seek to preserve their national character.
Israel, as a Jewish and democratic nation-state that dwells in the heart of a largely hostile region and contains within it a sizable national minority that does not identify with the goals and character of the State, must formulate a systematic immigration policy.
International law does not recognize the existence of a right to immigrate, and leaves control over the composition of society and immigration regulations in the hands of sovereign states and their governments. The only limitations are the prohibition on leaving a person without any citizenship as a result of the citizenship that he possesses being revoked and the prohibition on discrimination of a certain group because of ethnic, religious or racial background in immigration policy.
Following the Second Intifada that broke out in 2000, Israel passed the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), which was passed in its most recent version in 2007 and was renewed time and again and intended to restrict the entry of spouses from high risk areas and enemy states.
The State of Israel, as of this time, does not have primary legislation concerning immigration policy in general, and specifically immigration policy for spouses. The naturalization process for foreign spouses is a gradual process firmly anchored by internal instructions of the Ministry of the Interior. In its current format, this procedure does not give much consideration to economic and cultural interests, but rather focuses on the genuineness and stability of the marriage. In light of the lack of policy regarding economic immigration, the temporary all-encompassing order restricting entry for spouses from enemy states and areas, apparently appears callous and racist.
Following the proposals by the Rubinstein Committee, which discussed the formulation of immigration policy that would reflect additional public interests, this position paper offers several proposals for policy concerning marriage-based immigration.
The State must formulate universal conditions for marriage based immigration and family reunification cases arriving in Israel from all areas of the world. It is important to emphasize that that these conditions must be universal and equally applicable to all marriage- based immigrants, aside from those eligible for the Right of Return. There is to be no differentiation between immigrants from different countries in terms of the fulfillment of criteria.
All Rubinstein Committee proposals concerning loyalty requirements, financial assessments, age limitations and the ban on polygamy should be accepted and modified in accordance with the changing reality.
With regard to the immigration of spouses from enemy states, a comprehensive ban should be imposed on the immigration of spouses from absolute enemy states such as Syria, Iran and Lebanon, and stringent conditions should be set for the immigration of spouses from high risk states such as Egypt, Jordan, Libya and other Arab countries.
A condition for cultural integration should be added, and the quota system should be imposed in addition to the conditions for immigration and not as an alternative to them.
For The Full Position Paper