The Central Elections Committee has ordered three Knesset members with dual citizenship to annul their foreign passports by next Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, or at least begin steps to cancel them.
The three lawmakers are Yohanan Plesner of Kadima (who has Danish citizenship), Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz (a Polish citizen) and Yisrael Beiteinu’s Anastasia Michaeli, who holds a Russian passport. The Basic Law on the Knesset states that “a member of Knesset holding an additional citizenship that is not Israeli … will not take the oath of loyalty until he has done everything he can to relinquish it.”
Isn’t that ironic? One of the MKs in question belongs to the party of Avigdor Lieberman, who campaigned on subjecting citizens to loyalty oaths.
A couple of other reactions: First, what could one’s “additional citizenship that is not Israeli” be? Can you be an Israeli-Israeli dual citizen? Second, and rather more substantively, how common are bans on dual citizenship for any given country’s legislators? I don’t think I have seen this issue arise before, although Horowitz is quoted as recognizing it as common and “completely legitimate.”
The full news item also contains the interesting trivium that Michaeli is a former Miss St. Petersburg beauty queen. Horowitz is one of a record number of ex-journalists to have been on Knesset lists this year.
Finally, digging a bit deeper* about Michaeli:
She was previously at no. 44 on the Knesset list of Kadima. Evidently she is not only a dual citizen, but a dual partisan! The last-linked item also notes that “Movement between parties with differing ideologies is common among representatives of Russian immigrants.” (The Kadima candidacy was in 2006, when the party won 29 seats.) But she evidently has more in common with her new party’s leader, having complained on her Russian-language TV program that Israel’s entry into Eurovision 2007 “looks Arab.”)