Yesh Atid’s Lipman gives up US citizenship to serve in Knesset

‘I thank the USA for my 41 years of citizenship,’ writes the now exclusively Israeli politician on Facebook; Bennett will have to follow suit

Dov Lipman, January 16, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Dov Lipman, January 16, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yesh Atid member and future parliamentarian Rabbi Dov Lipman relinquished his US citizenship on Tuesday so as to be allowed to take his seat in the 19th Knesset.

“Today, in a private and emotional moment at the United States Embassy, I renounced my United States Citizenship, enabling me to serve in the Israeli Knesset,” wrote Lipman on his Facebook page. “I thank the United States of America for my 41 years of citizenship and for all it has done for my family and to help prepare me for election to the Knesset and for my remarkable new status — exclusively Israeli — which feels so right.”

Lipman is No. 17 on the list of the party headed by former television personality Yair Lapid, which garnered 19 seats, the second highest representation, in the January 22 elections.

Lipman, who lives in Beit Shemesh, immigrated to Israel from Silver Spring, MD., eight years ago.

Israel’s Basic Law requires that a Knesset member with a second citizenship do “everything required on his part to be released from such citizenship.”

Lipman is not the only future MK to have to give up a second citizenship. Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, the son of American immigrants, will also have to surrender his US passport before swearing into office. Other new MKs in the same situation are Likud’s Moshe Feiglin, who has Australian citizenship, Labor’s Michal Biran (Lithuanian) and Yesh Atid’s Karin Elharar (French).

Rabbi Meir Kahane — the last US-born MK before Lipman — was stripped of his US citizenship in 1984 after being sworn in to the Knesset. His attempts to regain his US citizenship failed.

Other Israeli Americans have had to give up their citizenship in order to serve the Israeli government, including Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador in Washington.

JTA contributed to this report

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