Israeli leaders warned Thursday that anyone caught deliberately setting the fires that have ravaged the country in recent days, could have their residency revoked.
After saying that these acts of arson were “terrorism,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would work to strip anyone found guilty of their “residency.”
“I spoke with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri this evening and we agreed to work together in order to revoke the residency of those held responsible for setting the fires,” Netanyahu tweeted.
It was not immediately clear if the Prime Minister meant taking away actual citizenship from the culprits as Deri had intimated he would do would do earlier in the day, saying their “status” would be affected.
The warning came after Netanyahu vowed harsh steps for those behind the series of wildfire. Officials believe as many as half of the blazes were acts of arson.
“Every fire caused by arson, or by incitement to arson, is terrorism,” Netanyahu told reporters at a briefing in Haifa where 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes. “Anyone who tries to burn parts of the State of Israel will be punished severely.”
This is not the first time Deri has sought to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs accused of carrying out terror attacks against Israel.
In May, Deri said that he filed a request with the Haifa District Court to revoke the Israeli citizenship of an Arab man accused of carrying out a combined stabbing and car-ramming attack last October. And, in January, Deri sought to change the nationality law, allowing the state to revoke the citizenship of Israelis who join Islamic State group.
Deri said that enlisting in the extremist group is an “act that constitutes a breach of loyalty to the State of Israel.”