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Memorandum of Law on Revocation of Citizenship: Designated Status, Revocation of Citizenship Geographical rights and Restrictions

On January 4, 2024, we sent comments (Hebrew) regarding a government memorandum of a law, which seeks to establish a new type of status in Israel for those who have revoked their citizenship or permanent residency due to breach of trust – "temporary residency that does not require extension." The state also asks in the memorandum of the law to impose sanctions on those whose citizenship or permanent residency was revoked due to breach of trust and to deny them rights (restriction of employment in health professions, revocation of social security benefits, and denial of the right to vote in municipal elections). It also seeks to impose geographical restrictions on them if victims of the offender or their families claim that their proximity after their release from prison harms them.


In the comments, Oded Feller, Director of ACRI's Legal Department, argued that the memorandum disproportionately violates the basic rights to dignity, liberty, freedom of movement and equality, and contradicts the Supreme Court ruling. He also noted that the arrangements for revocation of citizenship on grounds of "breach of trust" seek to specifically "deal" with Arab citizens, mark them as disloyal and allow them to be punished more easily by revocation of citizenship, and as evidence, revocation of citizenship of any Jewish citizen has never been considered, no matter how grave his actions may be.


Regarding the type of status proposed, according to the explanatory notes to the memorandum of the law, the special status of "temporary residency that does not require extension" will not be stable, permanent residency, but temporary status. This is in contrast to the Supreme Court ruling, which ruled that a person whose citizenship was revoked and has no status anywhere else cannot remain without status, and must be granted permanent residency.


Regarding the sanctions and the revocation of rights, we argued that the Supreme Court ruled that the purpose of the citizenship revocation arrangement was declarative and not punitive. Deprivation of rights, as now proposed, is not declarative but punitive, and therefore prohibited.

Regarding the geographical restrictions, we argued that violating the restrictions could probably lead to revocation, so that the person would remain without any status. We also argued that there are no other offenses for which a minister can impose geographical restrictions.

 

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