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Yishai: Current law inhibits action
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Balad MK Azmi Bashara
Photo: AFP
Yishai to ask for citizenship annulment rights
Interior minister devises bill allowing him to revoke citizenship without consulting attorney general

Interior Minister Eli Yishai plans to propose a bill on Sunday that would allow him to revoke citizenship without first consulting the attorney general or a court of law, Ynet has learned.

 

The current law states that the interior minister must receive the approval of the attorney general in order to appeal to a court with the request to revoke citizenship from any party.

 

The amending bill says, "The Interior Minister is permitted to revoke a person's citizenship if it has been sufficiently proven to him that the citizenship was acquired on the basis of false information, and the minister is permitted to extend the invalidation to the person's offspring."

 

It adds that "the interior minister is permitted to revoke Israeli citizenship from anyone who has committed a deed of breach of trust against Israel". The bill requires that the person in question have an alternative citizenship or, if he does not, the minister is required to grant him an Israeli visa.

 

'There are Arab citizens who spy on the state'

Yishai claims the proposal amends the current law, which he says inhibits the state from revoking the citizenship of Arabs who cooperated with terror agents.

 

But the bill has already met with harsh criticism on the part of Arab parties. MK Afu Aghbaria (Hadash) said it was "a sick, draconian, and delusional proposal aimed against the nation's Arab public".

 

He explained, "Yishai would not think to revoke Elhanan Tannenbaum or Nahum Manbar's citizenship. I guess Yishai hasn't finished with Lieberman, and is attempting to compete with him."

 

Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka said the proposed bill is "racist and anti-democratic".

 

"The aim is to revoke citizenship from Arabs alone, not Jews – not even Yigal Amir (former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin). Yishai wants to cancel legal orders and take control of matters of political vengeance. Revoking of citizenship is prohibited by international law – our citizenship is not a gift but derives from our being people of this land," he said.

 

MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) said racism in Israel had long since become "main-stream". MK Ophir Pines-Paz was also critical of the proposal. "This is not a serious proposal," he said. "When I was working against terrorists as interior minister I was never inhibited by the attorney general or the courts."

 

If the amendment passes, the minister's first move will be to revoke citizenship from former Balad MK Azmi Bashara, who fled Israel after he was found to have cooperated with terror organizations.

 

"There are Arab citizens in Israel, like Bashara, who spy on the state or operate against it on the part of terror organizations," Yishai told Ynet.

 

"These people must not have Israeli citizenship, but today it is very hard to revoke it. With the bureaucratic pace that exists nothing can be done about it. The order should be that a person whose citizenship is revoked appeal to the court after the fact, and not the other way around."

 

He stressed that there was no basis to the fear that the interior minister would revoke citizenship at every chance, as since the establishment of the state very few incidences such as this have occurred.

 

Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report

 

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