Knesset Passes Law to Strip Terrorists of Israeli Citizenship

MK David Rotem: There is no citizenship without loyalty; lawmakers also agree to revoke stipend of MK Azmi Bishara, suspected of series of crimes against national security.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Knesset plenum on Monday gave its final seal of approval to a law that would enable Israel's Supreme Court to revoke the citizenship of anyone convicted of espionage, treason or aiding the enemy during war.

"Anyone who betrays the state and carries out acts of terror must know – citizenship and loyalty go together," said Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem, who initiated the bill, which passed in its second and third reading. "There is no citizenship without loyalty."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The 'citizenship loyalty' law also allows the court to revoke the status of any permanent resident found guilty of assisting a terrorist organization.

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, lauded the Knesset's decision as a step toward "contending with the phenomenon of exploiting democracy in order to subvert it."

According to the bill, only people with dual citizenship could be stripped of their Israeli citizenship entirely. Someone without dual citizenship could still lose his Israeli citizenship, but would be granted status equivalent to what Israel grants foreign workers.

However, the bill also states that someone convicted of terrorism would lose his right to all allowances paid by the state, such as child allowances or welfare.

The Knesset on Monday also approved by a majority of 29 to 8 a bill to strip the stipend of former MK Azmi Bishara, who fled the country to skip out on an investigation into a series of crimes against national security.

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