No gov't agency blocking Erdan from revoking citizenship of Israeli who joined ISIS

Asked for comment on the legality of revoking Haldi's citizenship, the Attorney-General's Office implied that it would not intervene either.

December 23, 2014 20:45
2 minute read.
Islamic State flag

Smoke raises behind an Islamic State flag in Iraq . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Government agencies showed no signs on Tuesday of blocking Interior Minister Gilad Erdan’s announced intention to revoke the citizenship of Marwan Haldi – an Israeli minor who joined Islamic State and is now trying to return to Israel for medical treatment.

Erdan said Tuesday that he was prepared to use “the revocation of citizenship process” against “those involved in terrorism,” such as Haldi.

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“That is my policy,” he said.

The interior minister also said he was “waiting to get recommendations from security authorities in order to revoke Haldi’s citizenship before he gets an approval to return to Israel.”

He referred to the Nazareth resident as “someone who was most likely trained to kill as part of the most brutal terrorist organizations in the world. It’s up to me to seriously reconsider his return to Israel as well as his continuing to be a citizen.”

One security source said the step Erdan was considering would certainly constitute a deterrent against joining Islamic State.

On Monday, Erdan told Channel 2 that he was waiting for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recommendation to decide how to proceed in revoking Haldi’s citizenship.

But the Foreign Ministry, contacted for comment, said it had no knowledge of a request for Liberman’s opinion.

The ministry said its role was only technical – collecting documents from Haldi at the relevant consulate, which it had done – but that any substantive decision was Erdan’s prerogative.

Asked for comment on the legality of revoking Haldi’s citizenship, the Attorney- General’s Office implied that it would not intervene, either.

A statement from the office simply referred to the Law of Citizenship and refused to take any stand on how to interpret the law in light of Erdan’s initiative against Haldi.

On the face of it, the law appears to grant the interior minister the right to cancel the citizenship of a citizen who travels to Syria or Iraq “illegally” and “commits an act violating trust of the State of Israel.”

There could be some debate about whether Haldi violated that trust, since his actions were mainly to fight other Arab forces in Syria or Iraq. However, Israel considers Islamic State an enemy.

Also, until now, the state has prosecuted several Israeli Arabs who joined Islamic State and other Syrian rebel terrorist groups, but has not revoked any of those individuals’ citizenship.

Doing so in Haldi’s case could expose Erdan to the argument of arbitrary discrimination.

Haldi reportedly left Israel about two months ago and cut off all ties with his family. However, a few days ago, his relatives were informed that he was in Turkey, hospitalized in serious condition and suffering from burns over his entire body. The reports did not mention how he sustained these injuries.

Problems initially began when Haldi’s relatives requested a new copy of his passport from the Interior Ministry so he could come back to Israel. Their request went unanswered. Now the family is threatening to take the case to the Supreme Court.

“Haldi’s continued presence in Turkey could cause permanent damage to his health,” said Haldi’s attorney Hussein Abu Hussein.

Yaakov Lappin, Ben Hartman and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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