Panel Calls for Stricter Immigrant Policy

The advisory committee for studying Israel's immigration policy, headed by Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, has recommended that the government be allowed to ban all migration from countries and regions where there is systematic incitement against Israel. This means the government will be able to completely ban "family unification" with Gaza residents, and maybe also with West Bank residents if there is a rise in terror emanating from there.

The committee also recommends limiting spousal migration from anywhere in the world by restricting eligibility for citizenship based on marriage to an Israeli to people over 23; imposing an income minimum; and demanding proof of loyalty upon entry to Israel. An emigrant quota might be considered as a substitute or in addition to the above restrictions.

Regarding foreign workers, the committee recommends doing away with the Immigration Police and the system of binding workers to employers. The panel presented its interim report last week to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Last April, the Prime Minister's Bureau held a discussion on the National Security Council recommendation to greatly tighten Israel's immigration policy. In late June, the government decided "to formulate a policy on migration to the State of Israel - to be based not only on security considerations, but ensure Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state." The committee set up an interministerial committee for the purpose, headed by then-interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) and including Justice's Livni. Severe disagreements between Pines-Paz and Livni kept the committee paralyzed until Labor left the government. But Pines-Paz appointed Rubinstein's professional committee to draft recommendations for the interministerial panel.

The panel comprised three law-school deans - Rubinstein himself, from the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, Prof. Ariel Bendor from the University of Haifa and Prof. Yafa Zilbershatz of Bar Ilan University - political scientist Prof. Shlomo Avineri and law professor Ruth Lapidot.