Israel’s Controversial Citizenship Act Passes

Law Will Allow Govt to Revoke Citizenship From Those 'Harming Israel's Sovereignty'

The far right Yisrael Beiteinu party accomplished one of their key post-election goals today, passing the controversial new Citizenship Act through the Israeli Knesset in a vote that sparked angry condemnation from Arab MPs, many of whom may lose their citizenship if the act is interpreted broadly.

Though the bill was sold primarily as allowing the government to revoke citizenship from “terrorists” it also allowed revocation for acts of espionage or “acts harming Israel’s sovereignty,” a catchall phrase which has many concerned.

This is because the act was being touted by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman as part of a “no citizenship without loyalty” agenda. The party has openly advocated demanding loyalty oaths of all Arabs to Israel’s “Zionist character” with the threat of revoking citizenship from all those who refuse. The Loyalty Oath bill passed in October, and if combined with the Citizenship Act could be used to revoke citizenship from much of he nation’s Arab minority.

The act is just the latest in a series of draconian acts imposed by the right-far-right coalition government, and comes just a week after the law criminalizing the commemoration of “Nakba,” when many Israeli Arabs remember the mass expulsion of Arabs during the founding of Israel.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.