An expanded seven-justice panel of the High Court of Justice heard arguments on Tuesday about whether the state has the constitutional power to cancel the citizenship of two individuals who perpetrated terrorism against Israel.Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned against the move by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, arguing that the two convicted terrorists are serving extended prison time and cannot have their citizenship annulled. Among the issues they raised with annulling citizenship is that the two terrorists have no other citizenship and would suddenly be in a problematic undefined legal status.Before and during the hearing, the justices, the Attorney-General’s Office, the petitioners and a lawyer for the Interior Ministry explored different ways to define the terrorists’ status if their citizenship is canceled.The Interior Ministry argued separately, as there were potential disagreements with the Attorney-General’s Office, about whether the terrorists would receive socioeconomic rights, such as National Insurance Institute payments, even if they were no longer citizens.Various right-wing NGOs have argued that it would be problematic to continue NII payments to the terrorists if their citizenship was annulled since the Palestinian Authority is known to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.At the root of this spin-off controversy is that the Knesset law about the issue does not delineate what rights a person can still have once their citizenship is annulled.High Court President Esther Hayut requested that the sides debate whether canceling citizenship is legal as a constitutional matter as well as the specific circumstances relating to the two convicted terrorists.Adalah’s Sawsan Zaher and ACRI’s Oded Feller have argued that “even in the most grave case of murdering the prime minister, the High Court rejected a petition to revoke the citizenship of the murderer Yigal Amir in the name of defending the rights of a citizen.”Since Amir’s citizenship was not revoked, it is clear that the enforcement here is “arbitrary, humiliating and connected to foreign considerations” and would never happen to a violent convicted Jew, they have said.A central aspect of Deri’s claim for revoking citizenship is because terrorists “abused it [citizenship] to move freely” within Israel to perpetrate their attacks.According to the state, even as citizenship is fundamental, it is qualified if one undermines the state’s existence, such as helping terrorist groups that are ideologically committed to destroy Israel.Further, the state hopes canceling citizenship will deter would-be perpetrators.The High Court petitions came after the Haifa District Court was ready to annul the citizenship of Israeli-Arab Alaa Ziad in 2017, whereas the Tel Aviv District Court refused to annul the citizenship of Muhammad Abed al-Jaffer Nasser Mafarja in 2018.In 2016, the Haifa District Court sentenced Ziad to 25 years in prison for four attempted murders following an October 11 car-ramming terrorist attack that he carried out. He ran over and stabbed two soldiers and two citizens, one of whom was a 15-year-old minor, at Gan Shmuel near Hadera toward the start of the Knife Intifada.In 2014, the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Mafarja to 25 years in prison for bombing a Tel Aviv bus and wounding 26 people during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.Originally from the West Bank, Mafarja was able to move within the Green Line and acquire Israeli identification documents after a family reunification – an additional factor the state stressed in arguing for annulling his citizenship.According to prosecutors, on the morning of the bombing, Mafarja selected bus No. 142 from Ramat Gan to Tel Aviv for the attack, after checking several buses, because it was more crowded.Just before he arrived at a bus stop at the Ramat Gan industrial zone, Mafarja activated the bomb, left it on the third seat on the right-hand side of the bus and got off. He then called one of his associates, who detonated the bomb when the bus arrived near the corner of Shaul Hamelech Boulevard and Henrietta Szold Street.