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Israel parliament gives courts power to revoke citizenship

Israel's Knesset [official website, in Hebrew] passed a law Monday giving courts the power to revoke the citizenship of those convicted of treason, spying, aiding the enemy or terrorism. The law, initiated by members of nationalist party Israel Beytenu [party website], passed [Jerusalem Post report] by a vote of 37-11. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman [official profile] repeated his campaign slogan [press release, in Hebrew] of "no loyalty, no citizenship," adding that the law would help deal with those who take advantage of democracy to undermine it. Previously the state could strip citizenship from convicts only through the interior ministry. Opponents of the law in the Knesset called it fascist [Ynet report] during debates and claim it targets Israel's Arab minority.

In October, Israel's cabinet approved a controversial change [JURIST report] to the country's citizenship oath forcing new citizens to pledge allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state." Critics claim the oath, which was proposed by Israel Beytenu, unfairly discriminates against Arabs and threatens to increase tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. In July, the Knesset passed a law [JURIST report] limiting the ability of Arab-Israelis to bring Palestinian relatives into Israel. In 2009, the cabinet rejected an oath [JURIST report] proposed by Israel Beytenu that would force applicants for Israeli citizenship to pledge loyalty to a "Zionist, Jewish and democratic Israel."

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