“Slavery Law” passes final vote in Israeli parliament

An amendment to Israel’s Citizenship and Entry Law was passed in a 26-6 vote in Knesset today, enabling the government to confine and dictate migrant workers’ rights. The Citizenship and Entry Law, first passed in 2003, prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from acquiring residency or citizenship through, most commonly marriage or family reunifications. The amendment to the law applies to migrant workers employed in various care-taking and nursing services, which provides the backbone of elderly care in this country (including my own grandparents).

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Interior Ministry may

restrict the number of times a migrant caregiver can change employers, to limit workers to specific geographical areas, and to confine them to specific subsections of the nursing services. The amendment constitutes an attempt to circumvent the High Court of Justice and to restore an earlier “binding arrangement” of migrant workers to their employers, which the High Court has already criticized in 2006 for “creating a modern form of slavery” following a petition by five human rights organizations.

Fittingly called the “Slavery Law,” this bill grants the State the right to impede basic human rights of freedom of labor and movement.


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