Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) during the debate of the family reunification law, July 6, 2021.

Muhammad Majadele, head of the news division at Radio a-Nas, an Arabic language station in Northern Israel, tweeted Tuesday morning that Minister Issawi Frej (Meretz) said in an interview with Radio a-Nas: “The agreement reached with Bennett and Shaked would have given more than 3,000 Palestinian families legal status in Israel. We didn’t want to publish it because of the right-wing parties. We missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do justice to the thousands of families among our people.”

See: Reunification Law Dies in Overnight Vote as Opposition Ties Government 59-59

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Someone should tell MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who’s been running around pointing an accusing finger at Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked for striking a deal with RA’AM chairman Mansour Abbas to legalize a mere 1,600 PA Arabs. If we consider the average Arab family to have three children, then Mom, Dad, and the three kids times 3,000 comes to 15,000 Palestinian-affiliated Israeli residents armed with their new blue ID cards, free to roam around Israel with their chemistry sets and kitchen knives.

Frej explained that Shaked’s remarks about upgrading the status of 1,600 Palestinians concerned only the six months of the extended temporary order.

We didn’t know that.

Asked about his opposition to the extension of the temporary order, Frej said that it was a “racist law, an inhuman and immoral law,” and stressed, “That’s Meretz’s principled position.” However, in light of the agreement with Prime Minister Bennett and Shaked, and the opportunity to help thousands of families, Frej decided to support the law. And the unspoken threat of Netanyahu returning to power certainly played its part too.

What a friend we have in Issawi (yes, his name is the Arabic version of that man’s name)…

Earlier, Interior Minister Shaked confirmed Frej’s figures when she argued: “The promiscuous conduct of the Likud and Smotrich has overthrown the citizenship law and will lead to 15,000 applications for citizenship.”

Yamina MK Amichai Chikli, who may have ended his political career Tuesday morning when he voted against the Family Reunification law due to the new side deals with Meretz and RA’AM, said Tuesday morning: “Tonight we received proof of the problematic nature of a government that does not have a clear Zionist majority, one that starts the night with a one-year extension of the law and ends with a six-month extension, starts with 1,500 permits and ends with over 3,000. Israel needs a functioning Zionist government, not a Shatnaz that depends on the votes of RA’AM and Meretz.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.