Recognition of Israel is not a requirement for citizenship across all German states
The new law has been mandated only in the state of Saxony-Anhalt
Claim: Germany’s new law has mandated that foreigners seeking German citizenship must recognise Israel.
Fact: Only one state, Saxony-Anhalt, has set the prerequisite for aspiring citizens to affirm Israel’s right to exist before getting a German passport. The draft law is still being debated in the German parliament, and has not been implemented across the country yet.
Fact or Fiction?
On 6 December 2023, Facebook user Mohamed Guleid Ali claimed that a new law in Germany has mandated foreigners seeking citizenship to recognise Israel.
The caption of his post states:
“Foreigners seeking German citizenship asked to recognise Israel first
According to a new German law, to acquire #German citizenship, recognising “Israel’s right to exist” and condemning any efforts “directed against the existence of the State of Israel” is now a prerequisite”
Soch Fact Check found the claim to be misleading. While the east-central state of Saxony-Anhalt has mandated the recognition of ‘Israel’s right to exist’ for those applying for German citizenship, the debate for the law’s nationwide application is ongoing.
According to an article, “Germany debates tying citizenship to Israel loyalty” published on 8 December 2023, by DW, which is a public, state-owned German broadcaster, a similar clause regarding Israel is presently under consideration in the Bundestag, the German parliament. If approved, the law will be applied nationwide, the report adds.
It’s pertinent to note that Germany’s naturalisation law is made at the federal level, and its implementation is up to each of the 16 states.
To be eligible for German citizenship, prospective citizens are already subjected to a comprehensive security background check and are required to pledge allegiance to the Basic Law, serving as Germany’s constitution. This law guarantees various essential rights, including equal protection for all individuals irrespective of their individual or group identity.
Currently, individuals applying for German citizenship need to state officially that they accept the existence of all foreign states recognised by the federal republic, as a part of the naturalisation test. While this includes Israel, the test does not explicitly mention Israel by name.
However, in Saxony-Anhalt, failing to adhere to the new law could hinder the naturalisation of otherwise qualified applicants who are now required to confirm in writing, “that they recognize Israel’s right to exist and condemn any efforts directed against the existence of the State of Israel”. The naturalisation process in the east-central state will now also involve a more comprehensive evaluation of “antisemitic attitudes”.
Conclusion: Only in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, individuals cannot attain naturalised citizenship without recognising Israel’s right to exist. But the draft law is currently undergoing debate in the Bundestag, the German parliament, and has not been adopted by the remaining 15 states yet.
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