Head of the Ministry of Interior's Population Registry, Sasi Katzir, recently ordered the establishment of a committee of experts to create the guidelines for non-Jews seeking Israeli citizenship, after receiving permanent resident status.
The basics of the program have been published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading newspaper.
In recent years, Israel has become a preferred choice for immigration, causing the Interior Ministry to change immigration procedures, making them tough, and making them more similar to accepted procedures in Western countries, especially the United States, Germany, Holland, and Britain.
Today, according to the law, a resident seeking to become a naturalized citizen must merely declare loyalty to the State of Israel in Hebrew.
'Only here it takes half a minute'
According to Katzir, "the whole Western world makes tough demands on those seeking citizenship, and only here does it take half a minute. People here receive citizenship while barely knowing a thing about the State of Israel. Many naturalized citizens don't know at all what general elections are. It can't be that there won't be a basic test on Israeli society, government, history, rights and duties of citizens, and more."
Katzir added that "in the United States those seeking citizenship are required to sing the national anthem, with us it is a problematic issue for some of those being naturalized, and we will examine this thoroughly."
According to recommendations, the test will take one of two forms: A test of basic terms that will include 100 questions, or a course in citizenship with an examination at the end, as carried out in the United States.
Dora Shwartz, of the Interior Ministry, added that the citizenship ceremony will turn into an official State ceremony – instead of the minute long declaration that takes place today, in the room of the population register's office.