Israel Parliament Passes Law Tightening the Issuance of Passports

Israel’s passport law was amended by the Knesset (Parliament) here when the house passed on final reading last night a provision that would deny Israeli passports to Jews who come here for a very brief stay, then go to other countries where they register as Israelis.

Under the new law, an immigrant into Israel must be in the country for a year before he can obtain a passport. Previously, it was possible for him to get a passport within a week or two after arriving.

The new passport law would exempt some cases from the provision for a year’s delay. It would also tighten rules for renewal of passports by those living abroad. An official of the Ministry of the Interior said today there are 80,000 to 100,000 holders of Israeli passports living abroad, and that about three-quarters of them hold dual citizenship.

Knesset members were told that in many cases around the world Israeli passports are being held merely for convenience. Under the new law, those living abroad will have to demonstrate their ties to Israel at least by visits, even if only for a short time, in order to get a passport renewal. The final passage of the passport law was one of several actions taken by the Knesset as it was hurrying to adjourn for the summer by tomorrow.

The Knesset also voted to authorize one of its standing committees to probe charges that one of the country’s largest enterprises has conspired with the Treasury’s foreign currency division to transfer profits from foreign operations to Swiss accounts, thus bypassing Israel income taxes. The accused firm is the Federman organization, which operates large hotels in this country and other enterprises.

At today’s Knesset session, Mr. Eshkol, in his capacity as Minister of Defense, also proposed streamlining of personnel in various army departments, saying that such action would save the Government about 1,000,000 Israel pounds annually, without harming the country’s defenses.

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