JERUSALEM (Nov. 18)
Political circles here saw no anti-Israel motives today behind the recent decision of French authorities to reactivate a law that withdraws French citizenship from persons who willingly accept the citizenship of another country. The law will affect some 10,000 Israeli women from France and Algeria. The Association of French Immigrants in Israel intends to file a test case in the French courts challenging the ruling. The law applies only to women, apparently because the Paris government does not want to deprive males of French citizenship, thereby releasing them from their obligation to serve in France’s armed forces. The decision to reactivate the law stemmed from a 1968 amendment to Israel’s Law of Return which granted new immigrants a three month period in which to decide whether they wanted to become Israeli citizens. The French say that an immigrant opting for Israeli citizenship is performing an act of free choice whereas before the amendment it was involuntary. Under the original Law of Return, any Jew settling in Israel was automatically granted citizenship the moment he arrived on Israeli soil, unless he formally rejected it. Political circles here noted that the French ruling applied to former French nationals in many other countries as well as in Israel.