Five New MKs Must Give Up Foreign Citizenship

The grandfather of Yoav Kisch, a new Likud MK, was Brig. Frederick Kisch, the highest-ranking Jew ever to serve in the British Army.

The Knesset, October 27, 2014.
The Knesset, October 27, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman

Five new Knesset members will need to renounce their foreign citizenship before being sworn in as members of the 20th Knesset on Tuesday, Maariv reports. According to Israeli law, legislators must declare and give up any additional, non-Israeli citizenship before they can declare allegiance and enjoy the rights of a Knesset member.

Likud MK Yoav Kisch holds a British passport. He is a grandson of Brig. Frederick Hermann Kisch, the highest-ranking Jew ever to serve in the British Army and an important Zionist leader.
The others who will have to give up their foreign citizenship are Yesh Atid’s Haim Yellin (Argentina), Kulanu’s Rachel Azaria (United States), Zionist Union’s Ksenia Svetlova (Russia) and the Joint List’s Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Russia).

Azaria, whose mother was born in the United States, said that the process of renouncing American citizenship was complicated. “I had two interviews with American consular officials who warned me that giving up the passport is irreversible and the decision is taken in Washington,” she said. “I also had to pay a fee of $2,300.”

Five MKs, among them Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, had to give up foreign citizenship before being sworn into the previous Knesset, in 2013.

Kisch said his grandfather was born in pre-Independence India, where his father, Hermann Michael Kirsch was head of the Indian postal service. Frederick Kirsch served in France and the Middle East during World War I, with the Royal Engineers, and was wounded three times.

He joined the World Zionist Organization in 1922, and was the head of the political department of the Zionist Executive until he was succeeded by Chaim Arlosoroff.

In 1939, Frederick Kisch was recalled for active service in World War II. Promoted to the rank of brigadier, he became commanding officer of the Royal Engineers in the North African Campaign. He died in April 1943 after stepping on a mine.

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