Interior Ministry proposes bill to restrict passports for new immigrants

Illustrative. An Israeli passport. (Flash90)
Illustrative. An Israeli passport. (Flash90)

The Interior Ministry is moving forward legislation that will only allow new immigrants to Israel to receive a passport after they have spent a year in the country.

The legislation is meant to prevent people who receive Israeli citizenship, but don’t settle down in the country, from getting a passport.

Shas’s Michael Malkieli introduced the bill on behalf of the Interior Ministry. Malkieli is the religious services minister, and serving as the acting interior minister in place of Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, who is waiting for a law to pass that will allow him to helm two ministries despite his suspended sentence for financial crimes.

The proposed passport law effectively nullifies a legislative agreement the government made with the Yisrael Beytenu party in 2017, according to the Haaretz daily.

The proposed law says that the 2017 passport legislation led to a steep rise in the number of new immigrants from Russia and other countries who received Israeli passports without settling down in Israel.

Between June 2021 and June 2022, 4,094 new immigrants requested a passport within a month of getting citizenship, but 60% did not remain in Israel, the law proposal said, the newspaper says.

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