'Loyalty-citizenship' Laws

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Below is a list of bills that have been dubbed "loyalty-citizenship" laws, as they determine certain citizens' rights according to their "loyalty" to the state (e.g. military service).

The list does not include all of the bills, only the most substantial ones. Most bills have been put forth by Yisrael Beitenu, Likud MKs Zeev Elkin, Danny Danon and Yariv Levin and a number of Kadima MKs.

The bills and where they stand:

1. A bill to give preferential treatment to those who servedin the army or national service and are seeking employment in governmentoffices. The bill is currently being handled by the Constitution Committeeafter being approved in the first hearing.

2. A bill proposing Israeli citizenship be granted only after swearingan oath to the state of Israel "as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state,along with its symbols and values." The bill with be discussed in theKnesset throughout the winter.

3. A bill proposing to cancel the citizenship of anyone whoacts against the Jewish people, the state of Israel as the state of the Jews orIsrael as a Jewish, Zionist and Democratic state. The bill with be discussed inthe Knesset throughout the winter.

4. An amendment to the Council for Higher Education Law –indirect subsidizing of tuition will be given by the state only to students whoserved in the army or in national service, or to those who were found to beunfit for service. A different bill aims to give the education minister theauthority to set regulations for playing the national anthem in higher educationinstitutions, including the events during which the national anthem must beplayed. The bill has yet to come to a vote.

5. A bill to subordinate democratic rule in Israel to thecountry's role as a Jewish state, and to drop Arabic as an official language ofthe state ("Dichter law," supported by a third of the MKs). The billwas presented last summer, but MK Avi Dichter has since retracted it and has presenteda more moderate but still contentious bill.

6. The boycott law – the law was approved for a second and third reading. According to the law, one who calls for an academic, cultural, or economic boycott on the State of Israel can be sued for damages by those harmed by the call, without any proof of what kind of harm was done.

Those behind the law added a new clause at the last minute, stipulating a series of sanctions that could mainly harm non-governmental organizations or companies that carry out boycotts. These include removing the label of public institution which gives NGOs tax exemptions, and canceling benefits given to companies to encourage capital investments, research, and industry development. In this way, benefits given to factory owners who publicly announce they will not purchase products made in the settlements can be revoked.

7. Bill giving preference to applicants for government jobs who are veterans of Israel Defense Forces service or national service. Bill was approved for a preliminary reading on January 26, 2011, and the wording for a first reading was approved in the Knessets Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on May 22. After an intervention by the Attorney General, the advancement of the bill has been frozen for now.

8. An amendment to the defamation law. The bill is asking to allow libel suits against those who slander the State of Israel or its institutions, as well as allow libel victims to file a civil damages claim. Those pushing for the amendment do not hide their intention to allow law suits against activists and organizations who divulge information on violations of human rights and rules of warfare. The proposal was presented on Februrary 7, and approved in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on July 11. The Justice Minister and Minister Dan Meridor appealed the proposal, which was yet to be discussed. For this reason, the government currently opposes the legislation.

9. Bill seeking to strip NGOs with foreign funding of the right to tax exemptions, set forth by Yisrael Beiteinu MK Faina Kirschenbaum. The bill aims to impose a 45% income tax on foreign governments donations to NGOs. It aims to exclude from the bill organizations that receive state funding in order to leave the tax exemptions only to organizations working to advance Israeli society in the fields of welfare and education, and to particularly target human rights organizations. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation delayed the discussion of the bill, most probably due to pressure by the Foreign Ministry and other sources wary of the consequences the bill may have on Israels image.

10. Bill aiming to prevent foreign governments support of Israeli NGOs, set forth by Likud MK Ofir Akunis. According to the bill, NGOs will only be able to receive donations from foreign government that are capped at NIS 20,000 per year. In the bills explanation it was written, Many organizations work under the guise of human rights organizations and try to impact the political discourse, character, and policies of the State of Israel.

The first draft of the bill was rejected in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation since it was too vague and harmed too many organizations. Akunis reworded the bill to narrow it down to only human rights and peace groups.

The ministerial committee approved both Kirschenbaums and Akunis bills on Sunday, but four ministers appealed the decision and another vote is expected to take place next week.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, November 14, 2011.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi



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