New Israeli law allows state to block return, revoke citizenship of Israeli nationals living overseas

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Law allows revocation of citizenship based on unproven and speculative ‘concern’ that state security might be threatened.

8 March 2017

A new Israeli law allows the court to prevent citizens living outside the country from returning home if the state has a “concern” that their return would allegedly endanger Israeli national security.  The law, approved by the Knesset on Tuesday, 7 March 2017, essentially permits the state to revoke the citizenship of an individual in absentia.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association or Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) issued a statement today (8 March 2017) in response to the newly-approved law:

“The right to citizenship has itself become a target in the state’s vindictive efforts to threaten the status of Arab citizens. The Knesset has chosen to inflict severe harm to this most basic of rights. The law allows revocation of citizenship based on unproven and speculative ‘concern’ that state security might be threatened, without having to present any actual evidence to the individual in question. The Supreme Court has already ruled – in the case of Yigal Amir, convicted of assassinating Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin – that citizenship cannot be revoked on the basis that it is a fundamental right. This new law, in addition, also violates a citizen’s fundamental right to enter the country.”

Adalah and ACRI, in an earlier letter sent in February 2016 demanding the bill be shelved, stressed that “this is accepted in international law… The right to citizenship is considered the most important of all rights, as it encompasses a bundle of other constitutional rights – the right to enter the country, exemption from deportation, the right to work, the right to health and welfare services, the right to vote and so on.”

READ: Adalah and ACRI’s letter [Hebrew]


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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties

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