Home » Germany counters antisemitism in new citizenship law requiring the recognition of Israel’s right to exist

Germany counters antisemitism in new citizenship law requiring the recognition of Israel’s right to exist

by John Jefferson
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Germany is tackling antisemitism by requiring all new citizenship applicants to affirm Israel’s right to exist in order to receive naturalization. 

The move came into effect Thursday under changes made to Germany’s citizenship law as Berlin looks to clamp down on rising antisemitism amid Israel’s war against Hamas. 

“If you want to be naturalized in Germany, you have to commit to the values of a free society. This includes in particular the dignity and equality of all people,” Germany’s Interior Ministry said in a statement. “Anti-Semitic, racist or other inhumane actions are incompatible with the guarantee of human dignity of the Basic Law.”


Germany’s naturalization exam has been expanded to include questions regarding antisemitism.

“In response to the increasing antisemitism in Germany, the questionnaire of the naturalization test was also expanded,” the interior ministry said, listing topics that included “antisemitism, Right of existence of the State of Israel and Jewish life in Germany.”

The test is made up of 35 questions on topics like democracy and German history. At least 17 questions need to be answered correctly to pass, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Top German officials, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have pledged unwavering support for Israel following the Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas terrorists that saw the death of more than 1,200 Israelis, including women, children and elderly, though opposition to Jerusalem’s continued campaign has increased in Germany.

Police intervenes a pro-Palestinian march in Berlin


Germany is home to the largest Palestinian population in Europe as anger over Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has mounted.

Anti-Israel meetings and protests have been halted or banned over concerns relating to hate speech and clashes with German police have escalated in recent months. 

The changes to the naturalization law not only looked to crack down on antisemitism, but also looked to “modernize” Germany by speeding up the citizenship process. 

German police stand in front of anti-Israel protesters in front of Humboldt University in Berlin.

Those who have worked in Germany for the last five years are now considered “well integrated” and no longer need to wait eight years previously mandated before seeking citizenship.

Applicants also no longer need to relinquish their previous citizenship in order to be naturalized into German society. 

Germany's Nancy Fraeser

“Our reform is a commitment to a modern Germany. We are strengthening Germany,” Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser said in a statement. “In the past, many debates have been held about citizenship law, which were characterized by exclusion and mood-building. These debates took place on the backs of people who have lived and worked in Germany for many years but could never be part of it. 

“This reform shows them: You belong to Germany,” she added. 

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