Arabs living in post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods may lose their Israeli social benefits – and their residency permits – as a result of the current wave of terror.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the possibility at a security cabinet meeting as far back as two weeks ago, according to a report Sunday on Israel’s Channel 2 television news.
Approximately 80,000 people would be affected by the move, according to the report.
Sources in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee confirmed the report on Monday.
“It is impossible to give them all of the rights without having them fulfill all of their responsibilities,” the prime minister was quoted as saying at the meeting.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz warned at the same meeting that such a decision would have far-reaching consequences, and thus would require “a referendum, because it would involve giving up territory.”
Many Arabs who live in Jerusalem neighborhoods are not Israeli citizens – by choice – but they do possess the blue Israeli ID card called a “teudat zehut” which grants them full residency status, and social benefits such as extremely low cost medical insurance, social services such as Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) monthly support stipends and other benefits.
Last week the prime minister stopped construction of a dividing security barrier intended to protect residents of Jewish neighborhoods from terror attacks by residents of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The move followed criticism by Knesset members who warned the wall would become the first step in dividing the capital all over again.
The prime minister was scheduled to address the Knesset committee today on the issue (Monday, Oct. 26).
There has been no further official discussion on any plan to revoke the residency status of the entire Jerusalem Arab population. Nevertheless, 19 suspects accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks are indeed being considered as possible candidates for losing their residency status in the capital, according to Interior Minister Silvan Shalom.Hana Levi Julian