The Berlin Spectator
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‘Tagesspiegel’: Berlin Denies German Citizenship to Israeli

The Berlin authorities have refused to grant the German citizenship to an Israeli who has lived in the city for many years. This happened in spite of “generous exceptions” to the law which are supposed to apply in the case of Israelis.

In Berlin, the ‘Tagesspiegel’ daily reports the German authorities had denied an application for citizenship to an Israeli national, citing applicable law. The person’s lawyer believes the decision contradicts a statement by the federal government and the approach the three-way left-wing government in the city state of Berlin wants to take regarding dual citizenship.

Exceptions are Not for Everyone

The individual who applied has been living in Germany since 2006, the ‘Tagesspiegel’ writes. According to the German-language publication, he is a highly qualified software engineer who followed his girlfriend to Germany. “For the first time I felt I was not welcome here”, the Israeli applicant told the daily after the rejection of his request.

One thing is certain: This case is relatively complicated. Generally, the German citizenship law says conflicts between states because of dual citizenship issues should be avoided. But when it comes to Israelis who do not want to give up their first citizenship, things are supposed to be different.

The law includes exceptions for nationals of the only predominantly Jewish state in the world. But those are limited to applicants who suffered because of the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, or persons whose direct relatives suffered. In the case of this applicant, the authority in charge says this aspect did not apply.

Multiple Citizenship in Berlin

Still, the individual’s lawyer believes the German citizenship should be given to his client. First of all, an Israeli law is in the way. Over there, citizens can not just give up their citizenship without a special permission from the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem.

Secondly, the Chancellery in Berlin has stated that exceptions in the case of Israeli nationals should be “treated generously”, obviously because of Germany’s terrible recent history. The lawyer also said that so far there had not been any cases of this kind which had led to problems.

There is a third aspect which makes the lawyer confident he might still get his client the German citizenship: All three parties in the left-wing government coalition which rules the city state of Berlin have officially said they want to allow multiple citizenship.

Petition Handed In

Now the counselor sent a petition to the Berlin House of Representatives. He wants the city state’s parliament to tell the Administration of the Interior to grant his client the German citizenship on top of his two other ones. Apart from being Israeli, he is a British citizen as well.

According to the ‘Tagesspiegel’, 20 to 50 Israelis are being naturalized in Berlin every year.

The article in the ‘Tagesspiegel’, in German, can be accessed here.

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