Minister Yishai
Photo: Gil Yohanan
'What about Yigal Amir?' Tibi
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Israel begins revoking Arabs' citizenship

Interior Minister Yishai says will arrest four citizens who have been living in enemy states in past few years and were involved in activities prejudicial to the State's security, should they act on their plan to return to Israel through Jordan. Tibi: Why wasn't Yigal Amir's citizenship revoked?

Interior Minister Eli Yishai decided Tuesday to begin revoking the citizenship of four Israelis involved in activities prejudicial to the State's security.


Ynet has learned that the four are Arabs from northern Israel, who left the country in the 1970s and were involved in activities on behalf of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and other terror groups.


According to Israeli suspicions, the men were involved in the recruiting and training of terrorists. The four sought to return to Israel through Jordan and asked for passports. One of them even asked to bring his children along.


Yaakov Ganot, head of the National Immigration Authority, asked Minister Yishai to look into the possibility of revoking the four men's citizenship. According to the information presented by Ganot, the four left Israel many years ago and resided in countries defined by law as enemy states, including Lebanon and Tunisia.


Interior Ministry officials said that during their stay in those countries, the men were directly and indirectly involved in activities against the State of Israel and its security over a long period of time. Now, after many years, they wish to resettle in Israel.


The State is entitled to revoke a person's Israeli citizenship under the following conditions: If the person was granted citizenship based on data proved to be false, if he or she betrayed the country and breached trust, if he or she entered a country defined as an enemy state, which Israelis are not allowed to enter, or if he or she was granted citizenship from a country defined as an enemy state.


Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) slammed the Interior Ministry's decision, saying "I wonder why Yigal Amir's (Yitzhak Rabin's assassin) citizenship wasn’t revoked; or that of rapists and murderers.


"There are those who deem the Arab-Israelis' citizenship conditional and consider it a gift from the regime," he said.


Fellow Arab MK Afou Agbaria (Hadash) said, "How can the Interior Ministry ask to revoke citizenships without giving out details as to who these people are? This is not something that is done in democratic countries.


"I demand that the ministry publish their names and list the suspicions against them – and if the suspicions are substantiated, the ministry must turn to the courts and have them prosecuted," he said.


Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron called the decision "radical" and added that "citizenship is not taken even from criminals who carry out serious crimes. The way to pursue the suspicions against these four is through the courts."


פרסום ראשון: 05.05.09, 14:27
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