As a prospective member of Ehud Olmert’s coalition government, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party has requested control over the Interior Ministry. Progressive groups are concerned that this will affect immigrants, especially non-Jews attempting to apply for visas or residency. “Arabs and non-Jews will suffer,” warned Oded Feller, an attorney for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. Shas leader Eli Yishai (photo) introduced the policy blocking Palestinians from joining their Israeli spouses and opposed granting status to foreign parents of children who are citizens, even those serving in the Isreali army. However, the Legal Forum for the State of Israel defended Shas for maintaining the Jewish character of the state.
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