Cabinet to vote on declaration of allegiance

Citizenship applicants to declare allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish, democratic state.”

July 16, 2010 01:55
1 minute read.
High Court of Justice [file]

high court panel citizenship law 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The cabinet will be asked to approve an amendment to the Citizenship Law on Sunday whereby those applying for citizenship will have to declare allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish, democratic state” and commit themselves to respecting the state’s laws.

According to the explanation sent out to government ministers ahead of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, the amendment is needed to help the state protect itself from giving citizenship to those who may then act against it, namely Palestinians using family unification to qualify for citizenship, and then acting against the state; infiltrators from enemy states entering Israel illegally from Egypt.

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The amendment also states that citizenship will not be granted to those liable to endanger public safety or the security of the state. It would also give the country the right to bar the entry of people from enemy countries or entities, a clear reference to the Gaza Strip.

The amendment would allow the state to revoke the citizenship of those who engaged in a fictitious marriage in order to help someone else gain citizenship under false pretenses as well.

The amendment, which is expected to easily be approved by the cabinet, was roundly criticized by Aryeh Carmon, president of the Israel Democracy Institute.

He told Israel Radio on Thursday that citizens’ allegiance can only be to a state’s constitution, something Israel does not have.

“There is something called freedom of conscience. The state cannot dictate to any of its citizens their ideological or political opinions, or how they identify themselves,” Carmon said.

He said that if Israel had a constitution, the Supreme Court would certainly annul the type of legislation being brought to the cabinet.

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