Fishel Jacobs
Black Belt Champ Turns Rabbi, Author/Speaker

Forced Israeli Citizenship – Bad Law

This post isn’t really a “post,” per se. It’s more of a call for input. 

Over the years, I’ve seen too many people who were born and raised outside of Israel, but their parents (or one) were Israeli citizens, who arrived to visit Israel and were shocked to learn that they themselves were considered citizens.

Again, we’re speaking about children who were born in, for example California. They were raised and educated there, as good American citizens.

One bright summer day they arrive in Israel and are apprehended, arrested in one form or another by the government. They are then not only harassed, but they’re punished.

They’re informed that they’re Israeli citizens. They’re informed they can’t leave the country until they get an Israeli passport. They’re told they can’t leave the country until they square things away with their obligatory military service. They’re told if they don’t comply, they could and would go to jail!

They ask incredulously, “What’s this all about?!” They’re thinking: I’m American, or Canadian, or whatever. I’ve enrolled in college. I just came to visit for a week.

I’ve seen this happen to married people. They’re prohibited to exit Israel to reunite with their families outside the country, until they get passports, pay their dues.

They’re told they could and would go to jail.

“What’s this all about!?” they ask.

They’re told that because their parents’, or one of them, is an israeli citizen, they are automatically citizens. With all the obligations: Taxes, army, passport, jail time.

So, they turn to an attorney to rescue them. Apparently, there are attorneys who focus on this particular area! They pay these attorney’s thousands of dollars. They’re trapped in Israel until they pay, and get the legal process worked out. That can take weeks or months, or never. Who knows in Israel?

Sometimes, disgracefully, these poor people have to go the ‘mental’ route, for lack of a better term. (sorry) To get out of their new found obligatory three year military service, they are forced to direct their attorney to claim that this poor individual has mental issues!

So, now he is paying thousands of dollars to escape a citizenship and obligations he never knew he had, and certainly never chose.

He’s losing valuable school or work time. And, then he’s forced into carrying the baggage of a ‘mental’ label for life.

I’ve done some initial research to see the source of the ridiculous law. I’d love input from other people.

Just from face value, what I’ve personally seen over the years, this is a great example of an extremely immoral, bad law.

Is there any other country in the world which forces citizenship on people born outside its borders in such a horrific manner? Is it legal according to international law?

I’d like intelligent input. Maybe it’s time to change this bad law.

About the Author
Fishel Jacobs was as a major in the Israeli Prison Service and Chabad campus chaplain at Tel Aviv University. He authored numerous bestselling books on practical Talmudic law in use worldwide. And is responding rabbi for numerous websites. He speaks worldwide.