German State Makes Israel Recognition Mandatory for Citizenship

( – Recognizing Israel as a legitimate state is not taken lightly in Germany. Tamara Zieschang, who serves as the Regional Interior Minister, announced a new requirement for individuals who are applying to become German citizens in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. They must provide a written commitment agreeing that the State of Israel has the right to exist. Following in the footsteps of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the decree includes the French term “raison d’état,” or “right to exist.” Prominent politicians began using the phrase following the deadly Hamas terrorist attack against Israel on October 7.

Merkel used the term when discussing the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. The new decree makes clear that anyone who applies to become a citizen without submitting the written commitment will be denied. Zieschang also warned that careful vetting of applicants for antisemitism should be prioritized. Any activities that do not fall in line with Germany’s constitution will also result in the denial of citizenship. Those cited for offenses related to antisemitism will not be considered, in addition to individuals who deny that Israel has the right to exist.

Over the next several months, the entire country of Germany will likely adopt the same decree when it revises its planned citizenship requirements. The conservative CDU/CSU, which is the opposition party in Germany, has introduced additional requirements in a new proposal. Refugees living in Germany who have criminal records due to antisemitic activities would lose their protections and be deported. Citizens who hold dual citizenship would also face revocation if they have been sentenced to at least one year in prison for any crime committed that involved antisemitism.

Critics of Germany’s recent condemnation of residents who express Pro-Palestinian views are worried that citizenship would be denied on that basis. Additional revisions for planned citizenship currently in the works include cutting the residency requirement to five years and allowing the expansion of dual citizenship for individuals who do not live in a European country.

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