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Germany to quiz would-be citizens on Israel in new test

Germany to quiz would-be citizens on Israel in new test
3 min read
In the new test, which applicants must pass to acquire German nationality, candidates could be asked the founding year of Israel, according to a magazine.
Future German citizenship candidates could be asked the founding year of Israel [Westend61/Getty-file photo]

Future German citizenship tests will include questions about the creation of Israel and Berlin's alleged obligations to the Middle Eastern nation.

In the new test, which applicants must pass to acquire German nationality, candidates could be asked the founding year of Israel or Germany's alleged particular historical obligation to it, according to the Spiegel weekly.

The punishments for Holocaust denial, the name of the Jewish place of worship, and the membership requirements for Jewish sports clubs would also be among the possible questions, according to the magazine.

"Anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of contempt for humanity rule out naturalisation," German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told Spiegel in its Thursday edition.

"Anyone who does not share our values cannot get a German passport," Feaser said in the report first published on the magazine's website.

Israel was established in 1948 amid a campaign of mass ethnic cleansing that pushed some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.

The brutal episode, known as the Nakba ("catastrophe" in Arabic), is viewed as continuing to this day as Israel's military campaign forcibly displaces Palestinians in Gaza and settlers seek to take over areas in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Germany is widely viewed as having an anti-Palestinian bias, an issue which appears to have deepened since Israel's war on Gaza began in October.

The Israeli military campaign in the enclave has so far killed 32,552 people.

The International Court of Justice found in January that Israel was plausibly breaching the Genocide Convention in Gaza.


"The spectre of authoritarianism hangs over Germany once again, this time in the name of a crusade against what it labels as anti-Semitism, applied blindly against all forms of criticism of Israel," Berlin-based freelance journalist Timo Al-Farooq wrote in a December opinion piece for The New Arab.

"Crackdowns on protests, often violent; undemocratic changes to laws tampering with assembly, speech and citizenship rights and freedoms; and a relentless anti-Palestinian cancel procession sweep across the country, sparing no Arab nor even Jewish critics of Israel."

The New Arab published a short documentary titled "Germany's Palestine problem" in July last year. The film explored issues of censorship and racism.

"Many sources we spoke to said that they felt that Germany was shifting historical guilt onto Palestinians," the presenter said in the eight-minute video.

"They said that Germany is so intent on not being seen as anti-Semitic that it will defend Israel and Zionism at all costs, including racism to Palestinians."

Germany recently agreed to ease strict citizenship laws, reducing the time needed to be able to apply for a passport and making dual nationality more available.

The overhaul of Germany's citizenship legislation was a key pledge made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's centre-left-led coalition government when it came to power at the end of 2021.

The change to the law was put forward in August last year but came under scrutiny following the outbreak of the Gaza war on 7 October and in the context of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany.

In addition to a commitment to the constitution, applicants will now also be required to make a commitment to protecting Jewish life in Germany.

Under normal conditions, candidates will be able to apply for citizenship after five years in Germany, as opposed to eight previously.

Those who are particularly well integrated and have very good German language skills will be able to obtain nationality after just three years.