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12,000 Israeli Residents Reject Israeli Citizenship

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More than 12,000 persons from 56 different countries who now reside in Israel have informed the Israeli authorities that they do not choose to accept Israeli citizenship when the Israeli nationality law conferring citizenship on all legal residents of Israel goes into effect on July 14, it was officially announced here today.

Yehoshua Shai, director of the national immigration service, who made the announcement, said that a variety of reasons for refusing citizenship has been offered, including the fear of Austrian and German nationals that if they accept Israeli citizenship they might lose their rights to restitution and indemnification for losses and injuries suffered under the Nazi regime.

Mr. Shai estimated that 98 percent of the Arabs living in Israel would automatically acquire Israeli citizenship on July 14. Under the terms of the nationality law, automatic citizenship will be granted to all legal residents who registered with the Israel Government on March 1st, 1952, or who legally entered the country after that date. Jewish immigrants entering the country after July 14 will receive citizenship automatically upon arrival. Non-Jews will be able to apply for citizenship if they so desire after going through a waiting period.

The right of citizenship will not be extended to foreign nationals immigrating to Israel who declare prior to their arrival or on arrival that they they do not desire Israel citizenship. Israel residents presently residing abroad will receive citizenship on July 14 unless they make a declaration waiving such rights at the nearest Israel Consulate before that date. Inasmuch as the law confers automatic citizenship on the minor children of Israel nationals, any waiver notice should include the names of the children.

The citizenship law is operative only in relation to immigrants intending to settle permanently in Israel. It does not include those merely intending to visit the country, and prospective tourists are, therefore, exempted.

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