Israel blocks law that keeps out Palestinian spouses

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament has not renewed a temporary law first enacted in 2003 that bars Arab citizens of Israel from extending citizenship or even residency to spouses from the occupied West Bank and Gaza. The 59-59 vote early on Tuesday means the law is poised to expire at midnight. Under it, Arab citizens who make up a fifth of Israel’s population, have had few if any avenues for bringing spouses from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel. Critics and many left-wing and Arab lawmakers say it’s a racist measure to restrict the growth of Israel’s Arab minority. Supporters say it’s needed for security purposes and to preserve Israel’s Jewish character.