Bill to amend the Citizenship Law imposing loyalty oath for persons seeking naturalization in Israel and Israeli citizens seeking first ID cards

A proposed amendment to the Citizenship Law requires all persons seeking to naturalize via the naturalization process and Israeli citizens applying for their first ID cards (obligatory at the age of 16) to declare a loyalty oath to Israel as a “Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state, to its symbols and values, and to serve the state in any way demanded, through military service or alternative service, as defined by law.” It would replace the text of the current declaration: “I declare that I will be a loyal citizen of the State of Israel.”

Requiring such an oath marginalizes the status of Arab citizens of Israel by deeming Israel a state for Jews only.

The enactment of the amendment may prove to be a slippery slope as, according to numerous other bills introduced in the Knesset, declarations of allegiance to a Jewish and democratic state could soon be required of all ministers, Knesset members, civil service employees, etc.

Adalah sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Attorney General, and Justice Minister on 7 October 2010, arguing that the bill specifically targets Palestinian Arab citizens, whose “non-Jewish” spouses – Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and other Arab states – are those who would have to swear the oath. The bill received the endorsement of the government on 10 October 2010 on condition that certain changes be made to its provisions, but does not currently enjoy the support of a Knesset majority.

A new version of the law has not been published.


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