German state mandates citizenship applicants declare support for Israel


Saxony-Anhalt, a state in east Germany, will ask citizenship applicants to declare their support for Israel if they want to become naturalised citizens.

The applicants, according to German media outlet Deutsche Welle (DW), will have to do so in writing, which will state “that they recognise Israel’s right to exist and condemn any efforts directed against the existence of the State of Israel.”

The state’s Interior Minister Tamara Zieschang, in a meeting of state and federal interior ministers, has also asked 15 other states in Germany to adopt rules similar to the one they have laid out.

This is the same state where the 2019 Halle synagogue shooting took place during which a right-wing German extremist killed two people.

DW reported that the ministry, according to Zieschang, sent the “decree to all Saxony-Anhalt municipalities informing them of the policy in late November”.

Through this rule, the state has conveyed a strong message to all applicants that they wouldn’t get citizenship if they did not support the existence of Israel.

The German publication stated that the decree directs authorities to closely monitor if an applicant displays antisemitic attitudes. The decree also stated that “obtaining German citizenship requires a commitment to Israel’s right to exist”.

The state’s interior ministry, in a letter to the local authorities, has asked denial of naturalisation to foreigners who go against Germany’s basic law including engaging in activities directed at its liberal democratic order. These activities also include antisemitism and the denial of Israel’s right to exist.

The authorities have been directed to deny the naturalisation request of any applicant who refuses to sign the declaration. Meanwhile, their refusal will also be documented for future reference in their application filing.

The Nazi-led genocide of Jews, referred to as the Holocaust, was perpetrated in Germany and killed over six million European Jews during the Second World War. Following its dark past, the country took measures to rectify the horrors and now claims to protect Jews, terming it as a historical responsibility.

Israel has imposed a deadly siege in the Gaza Strip in the wake of October 7, when Hamas led a surprise attack on different Jewish kibbutz, killing over 18,800 Palestinians. Both Islamophobic and antisemitic attacks have seen a rise, mainly across the Western and European regions.__The News