Germany’s New Citizenship Law Requires Recognition of Israel’s Right to Exist to Counter Antisemitism

Germany is taking a stance against antisemitism by introducing a requirement for all new citizenship applicants to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

This measure, effective as of Thursday, is part of the revisions made to Germany’s citizenship law. The move comes in response to the surge in antisemitism witnessed alongside Israel’s conflict with Hamas. 

“If you wish to become a German citizen, you must embrace the values of a free society. This specifically includes respecting the dignity and equality of all individuals,” the German Interior Ministry stated. “Anti-Semitic, racist, or any other inhumane actions are incompatible with the fundamental guarantee of human dignity enshrined in the Basic Law.”

The naturalization exam in Germany has been broadened to incorporate questions about antisemitism.

“In light of the increasing prevalence of antisemitism in Germany, the naturalization test questionnaire has been expanded,” the interior ministry explained, listing topics such as “antisemitism, the Right of existence of the State of Israel, and Jewish life in Germany.”

The test encompasses 35 questions covering themes like democracy and German history. A minimum of 17 correct answers are required to pass, according to reports. 

High-ranking German officials, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have made commitments following the October 7, 2023 attack by Hamas terrorists, which resulted in the tragic loss of over 1,200 Israelis, including women, children, and the elderly. However, opposition to Jerusalem’s ongoing campaign has grown in Germany.

Germany is home to Europe’s largest Palestinian population, and anger over Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been mounting.

have been halted or banned due to concerns about hate speech, and clashes with German police have escalated in recent months. 

The adjustments to the naturalization law are not only intended to curb antisemitism but also aim to “modernize” Germany by streamlining the citizenship process. 

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

Applicants are also no longer obligated to renounce their previous citizenship in order to be naturalized into German society. 

“Our reform represents a commitment to a modern Germany. We are strengthening Germany,” stated Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser. “In the past, many debates surrounding citizenship law were characterized by exclusion and attempts to stir up negative sentiments. These debates were held at the expense of individuals who have lived and worked in Germany for years but were unable to truly become part of it. 

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