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A traveler enters Israel through a new passport control terminal in Ben Gurion International Airport

New Immigrants Will Need to Prove They’ve Settled in Israel Before Getting Passports

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri is planning a new policy that will see new immigrants required to prove they’ve settled in Israel, in order to be eligible for an Israeli passport, his office said Monday, January 2.

A statement said Deri had instructed the Population Authority to begin preparing for the move, a shift from the current policy that grants a passport automatically upon obtaining citizenship. Deri’s plan would first require a law change, which would be part of the incoming coalition’s immigration reform.

In addition to the passport law, the government also intends to alter the Law of Return, specifically the clause that permits anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to obtain citizenship.

This has drawn intense criticism from Diaspora Jewry. In the past, new immigrants were only eligible for a passport after a year in the country.

In 2017, a new law allowed new immigrants to obtain a passport immediately, despite warnings from law enforcement that such a permissive policy could lead to abuse.

“The ‘air train’ in which people eligible [for citizenship] under the Law of Return are taking advantage of their right to a passport and ‘absorption package’ [of government benefits], and then going back to where they came from is unacceptable,” Deri said.

“We should give status and a passport only to those who are settling in Israel, not to those looking to get benefits they’re not entitled to.” (TOI / VFI News)