Israel to revoke citizenship for spying under new law

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

A new law passed by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, allows courts for the first time in Israel’s history to revoke the Israeli citizenship of those convicted of espionage, treason, or aiding “enemy organizations”. The new law, which the Knesset enacted on Monday night by a vote of 37 to 11, amends the country’s revered Citizenship Law, which was first enacted in 1952. Along with citizenship rights, judges will be allowed to revoke the permanent residency permits of individuals found guilty of assisting organizations designated as terrorist by the Israeli government. The legislation was primarily sponsored by the ultraconservative Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party, which is led by Israel’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman. During the 2009 national elections, Mr. Lieberman campaigned on a so-called “no loyalty, no citizenship” political platform. This ultranationalist stance formed the basis of the citizenship revocation legislation enacted on Monday. The new law is in fact a watered down version of Yisrael Beiteinu’s original proposal, which included a requirement for loyalty oaths administered to all non-Jews living in Israel. The proposed oath promised allegiance to the country of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state”. But Mr. Lieberman was forced to soften the bill, following strong complaints from centrist politicians and civil liberties groups. It is worth noting that the current version of the law is openly opposed by the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, which sees it as too draconian. But Mr. Lieberman insisted on Monday that “without loyalty there can be no citizenship”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

4 Responses to Israel to revoke citizenship for spying under new law

  1. fred lapides says:

    I dislike the Take An Oath thing, but I can appreciate revoking citizenship from those who would destroy the nation that gives them citizenship.

  2. Joshua Engelman says:

    However, they also refer to many human rights activists and members of the opposition as enemies of the state, leading the way for abuse of this law.

  3. Avi says:

    Most traitors come from the left. It is both unsurprising and necessary for human rights activists and leftist political actors to be targeted. Look at the bright side, losing one’s passport is less severe than prison or premature death.

  4. Ramzi Nohra says:

    Interesting to see a Moldovian immigrant wants to revoke citizenship from people who have been there for generations.

    Although actually I can understand it if reserved for cases of serious espionage, terrorism etc.

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