High Court rules state can revoke terrorists’ citizenship – with caveat

“Unfortunately, the High Court has adopted an interpretation that is contrary to the language of the law and required that terrorists be given a different permanent status in Israel,” said Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS and World Israel News Staff

The High Court of Justice ruled that the citizenship of an individual who committed a terrorist act or espionage against the State of Israel can be revoked, a significant ruling that enables the state to enlarge its arsenal of penal actions against terrorists.

The High Court ruled Thursday that there is no constitutional flaw in the legal arrangement that makes it possible for the minister of interior to revoke the citizenship of those who committed an act of treason against the state, such as an act of terrorism or serious espionage, even if as a result of the denial of Israeli citizenship the terrorist remains stateless and without citizenship.

The state’s power to revoke a terrorist’s citizenship comes from an amendment to the Citizenship Law enacted in 2008. It is meant to deter acts of terrorism and to ensure a terrorist and his family lose all benefits after commiting an attack.

Terrorists Muhammad Mafaraja, who planted an explosive device on a bus in Tel Aviv in 2012 and injured 24 people, and Alaa Ziud, who carried out a stabbing attack at the Gan Shmuel Junction and injured four people in 2015, will now lose their Israeli citizenship.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman welcomed the decision, saying that “justice has finally been done. The situation in which terrorists responsible for brutal acts of terrorism hold Israeli citizenship is an intolerable, and the court that stopped this absurdity did well. This is a significant step in eradicating terrorism in the State of Israel.”

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“The High Court has confirmed the obvious: Whoever acts intentionally to harm the State of Israel cannot be part of its community of citizens,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked stated.

“However, unfortunately, the High Court has adopted an interpretation that is contrary to the language of the law and required that terrorists be given a different permanent status in Israel,” she added referring to the obligation to provide the person whose citizenship was revoked with a residency permit.

In such a case the only right that would be withheld is the right to vote.

Commenting on the ruling, Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich said, “Terrorists should not continue to receive residency status or rights in a country against which and against whose citizens they fight with violence and terrorism.

“It is simple morality and common sense of any life-loving society, and it is a deterrent existential necessity in a country that is struggling for its existence against a cruel enemy.

“The High Court is once again inventing rulings contrary to the language of the law and the intent of the legislature and is harming the security of Israel and the peace of its citizens. This will be the focus of the upcoming elections in which we undertake to reform the Israeli legal system and base it on the values of Judaism, Zionism and healthy human morality.”

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