'Citizenship Bill' passes c'tee hurdles, heading for vote

Despite Shin Bet objection that law is necessary, problematic, MK Rotem's law heads for 2nd, 3rd reading in Knesset plenum

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
March 15, 2011 20:59
2 minute read.
Knesset

Knesset. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A bill that will make it easier to strip convicted spies, terrorists and traitors of their Israeli citizenship was approved on Tuesday by the Knesset Interior Committee, and will now go to the plenum for its second and third readings.

The bill, sponsored by Israel Beiteinu MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov, would allow courts to revoke the citizenship of people convicted of terror acts, harm to Israel’s sovereignty, aiding an enemy during a time of war, espionage or severe espionage, after being asked to do by the interior minister.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka slammed the bill during the committee hearing, shortly before the panel approved the bill for its final readings. He described the bill as populist and said that its goal was to harm Arab citizens, adding that it was part of a dangerous trend.

Zahalka called to stop the bill in committee, and received an unexpected leg up from the legal counsel of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) , who said that his organization does not support the bill.

The Shin Bet attorney said that there are enough provisions in existing law to strip citizens’ citizenship as needed. He added that the bill itself was problematic and that Israeli Arabs indeed believe that the law is aimed at them.

Committee Chairman David Azoulai (Shas) said that “the Shin Bet’s statements are clear and their significance is that this bill will do more harm than good.”

But Rotem argued that the bill does not target Israeli Arabs, and that he and Ilatov had carefully worded the bill to address this claim.



Rotem cited an international agreement regarding removal of citizenship, claiming that the clause allows states to defend themselves against criminals trying to undermine the state.

Convinced that despite the Shin Bet’s reservations, the battle against the bill was lost, Meretz, Hadash, and Balad MKs submitted a series of amendments to the bill, including one changing the bill’s name to “the Lack of Understanding of What Citizenship is Bill.”

The amendments all were rejected by the committee, which passed the bill by a vote of 5-1. Azoulai was the only coalition MK on the committee not to support the bill, abstaining from the vote after accepting the Shin Bet’s position.

The bill’s sponsors hope to bring the bill for its final readings before the conclusion of the Knesset’s winter session at the end of this month. With coalition support, the bill is likely to pass into law.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN