Three Dual-citizen MKs Ordered to Annul Their Foreign Passports

The three lawmakers are Yohanan Plesner of Kadima (Danish citizenship), Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz (a Polish citizen) and Yisrael Beiteinu's Anastasia Michaeli, who holds a Russian passport.

Shahar Ilan
Shahar Ilan
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Shahar Ilan
Shahar Ilan

The Central Elections Committee has ordered three Knesset members with dual citizenship to annul their foreign passports by next Tuesday's swearing-in ceremony, or at least begin steps to cancel them.

The three lawmakers are Yohanan Plesner of Kadima (who has Danish citizenship), Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz (a Polish citizen) and Yisrael Beiteinu's Anastasia Michaeli, who holds a Russian passport. The Basic Law on the Knesset states that "a member of Knesset holding an additional citizenship that is not Israeli ... will not take the oath of loyalty until he has done everything he can to relinquish it."

Michaeli, a former Miss St. Petersburg beauty queen, moved to Israel in 1997 after marrying an Israeli, and converted to Judaism. Yesterday she submitted a request to the Russian embassy to annul her citizenship, lamenting, "There's so much bureaucracy and so many documents are needed."

Despite having grown up in Russia, and the fact that her parents and brother still live there, Michaeli says she has built a home in Israel, and that she anticipates no problems should she choose to visit her country of birth.

Only Michaeli knew of the requirement ahead of time. Despite their surprise, both Plesner and Horowitz said the rule would not have affected their decision to run for office. Horowitz, formerly Channel 10 News' foreign news editor, told Haaretz he had acquired Polish citizenship thanks to his father's origins. He said he used the foreign passport to report in countries that Israelis have trouble entering, for example when making a film about the aftermath of a tsunami in Indonesia.

Horowitz added, however, that he recognizes that many countries around the world demand of their members of parliament that they relinquish foreign passports, and that the requirement is "completely legitimate."

Plesner entered the Knesset in September 2007, having replaced Shlomo Breznitz, who resigned. The Knesset secretary, however, forgot to demand that he cancels his Danish citizenship, which he inherited from his father. That passport, he said, allowed him certain "freedoms to conduct business."

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op