New German citizens must now recognise Israel’s ‘right to exist’

New German citizens must answer questions of Judaism, Jewish life and Israel in the test [Getty/file photo]

Germany now requires all citizenship applicants to declare Israel’s right to exist, as part of controversial new measures Berlin to support Israel amid its brutal war on Gaza.

Berlin recently agreed to ease strict citizenship laws, reducing the time needed to be eligible for a passport and making it easier to have dual nationality.

“Anyone who shares our values and makes an effort can now get a German passport more quickly and no longer has to give up part of their identity by giving up their old nationality,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Tuesday when the law came into effect.

“But we have also made it just as clear: anyone who does not share our values ​​cannot get a German passport. We have drawn a crystal-clear red line here and made the law much stricter than before.”

Germany has cracked down on anti-Israel sentiments since the start of the war on Gaza last October, and even before that has labelled any criticism of it as “antisemitic“. This has raised concern over the status of free speech in the European nation.

It was previously made clear by the interior ministry that the reformed citizenship law would include questions on Judaism and Jewish life in Germany, but the government confirmed on Tuesday that declaring Israel’s right to exist was now also a requirement.

“New test questions have been added on the topics of antisemitism, the right of the state of Israel to exist and Jewish life in Germany,” the ministry announced.

Germany’s responsibility towards Judaism is also a fundamental part of the new citizenship test, due to the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.

In March, German weekly publication Spiegel said applicants would be asked about the year Israel was founded and Germany’s alleged supposed obligation to the country, as well as punishments for Holocaust denial, the name of the Jewish place of worship, and the membership requirements for Jewish sports clubs.

Of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, more than one million were murdered at Germany’s Auschwitz-Birkenau’s notorious gas chambers, along with tens of thousands of others including homosexuals, Roma, and Soviet prisoners of war.

Successive German government have long tried to make amends for these crimes against Jewish people, but many argue that the Holocaust does not justify Berlin’s unwavering support for Israel, as it conducts a war on Gaza which has seen tens of thousands of innocent children, women, and men killed.

Germany alleges that the Gaza war has led to a sharp rise in hate crimes against Jews in the country.

Earlier this month, Germany designated the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement as an “extremist group” and has continued to provide Israel with arms despite the colossal death toll in Gaza.

Over 37,700 people have been killed in nearly nine months of Israel’s air and ground assault, with more than 86,000 others wounded, while thousands more are presumed dead beneath the rubble.

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