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Germany to quiz candidates on Israel in citizenship test

Germany to quiz candidates on Israel in citizenship test
Image: Germany's flag

The test for German citizenship will in future include questions on the Jewish religion and the state of Israel in a move designed to filter out anti-Semites among applicants.

“Anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of contempt for humanity rule out naturalisation,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the Spiegel weekly in its Thursday edition.

“Anyone who does not share our values cannot get a German passport,” Feaser said in the report first published on the magazine’s website.

In the new citizenship test, which applicants must pass to acquire German nationality, candidates could be asked the name of the Jewish place of worship, the founding year of Israel or Germany’s particular historial obligation to it, according to Spiegel.

The punishments for Holocaust denial and the membership requirements for Jewish sports clubs would also be among the possible questions, according to the magazine.

Germany recently agreed to ease strict citizenship laws, reducing the time needed to be able to apply for a passport and making dual nationality more available.

The overhaul of Germany’s citizenship legislation was a key pledge made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left-led coalition government when it came to power at the end of 2021.

The change to the law was put forward in August last year but came under scrutiny following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel and in the context of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany.

In addition to a commitment to the constitution, applicants will now also be required to make a commitment to protecting Jewish life in Germany.

Under normal conditions, candidates will be able to apply for citizenship after five years in Germany, as opposed to eight previously.

Those who are particularly well-integrated and have very good German language skills will be able to obtain nationality after just three years.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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