According to the decision, children of foreign workers will now be able to possess an Israeli identity card, but the new regulation only applies to approximately 2,000 children who entered the country before turning 14 and have been living in Israel for at least six years. There are currently about 2,500 children of foreign workers living in Israel.
The foreign workers' children will be required to submit their residency requests to the Interior Ministry by August 31.
The decision to approve Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On's decision was accepted 18 votes in favor and five opposing votes, including Shas ministers and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Bar-On asked the government to also approve granting permits to foreign workers' children who do not meet the prerequisites, but his request was rejected by his fellow ministers.
Yishai: We're about to lose our identity
The revolution was initiated at the time by former Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, while the next Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz set strict criteria for granting the citizenship, some of which were amended so that more foreign workers' children would be able to stay in Israel without fearing expulsion.
According to the previous conditions, for example, the requirement was that the child has been living in Israel at least 10 years.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eliyahu Yishai sounded worries after the new regulations were approved.
"This is the beginning of the end of the Jewsih state. the decision is an image, economic and social explosive belt. We are on a slippery slope and are about to lose our identity at the end," Yishai said, noting that his party "stood as a fence against this danger" by preventing the implementation of the decision "in an uncontrollable fashion."
The Hotline for Migrant Workers responded with satisfaction to the decision: "We welcome this important and brave decision, which will resolve the status of hundreds of children and families. We hope the State will thus turn over a new leaf in its relationship with its foreigners."
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also welcomed "the government's humane decision to resolve the status of foreign workers' children living in Israel, and thus bring to an end the suffering and ongoing uncertainty in which these children, who are Israelis for all intents and purposes, have been forced to live in."
Miri Chason contributed to the report