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Part III: Internalize It

This is the third part in a series of articles concerning citizenship in Israel. In Part I we discussed the demographic dilemma, that there are almost as many Arabs as Jews in the Holy Land, and what this means for Israel. In Part II we discussed the Torah’s Position, reading passages from the Books of Exodus and Numbers. In this third part I will offer you a glimpse of my Hebrew book, “The Constitution of Israel” ("חוקת ישראל"), which is a proposed Constitution for the State of Israel, firmly based on the Torah, the Five Books of Moses (otherwise referred to as the “Pentateuch”).

The clauses of this Constitution have been divided into four groups, to clearly delineate between their sources. The first group (A) is directly quoted from the Pentateuch. The second group (B) is either directly inferred from the Text of the Pentateuch or is attributed to God and is directly quoted from the rest of the Hebrew Bible. The third group (C) is an interpretation of God’s Word. The fourth group (D) is independent from, but subservient to, the Torah.

Out of extreme caution I have labelled the following passages as (D), meaning they are not attributed to God’s Word or its interpretation, so they are to be considered secular laws, although they are very much aligned with God’s Word in my opinion. This “D-“ appears in the original text at the beginning of each clause, although I have removed it below due to its redundancy. The (T) and (M) markings at the end of certain clauses are there to indicate that these clauses are intended to remain in the Constitution only temporarily, (T) because in time they will become obsolete and (M) because they will be moved to a law. The following is a direct translation of the subsection “Citizen” under the main section “Citizenship” under the book grouping “The Nation” as it appears in Hebrew in my book, “The Constitution of Israel”:

Citizen

The children of Israel, residents of the Land, are entitled to citizenship, subject to the Constitution and the law. Israeli citizenship is not guaranteed from birth, and one who requests it must prove himself and earn his citizenship. Only a citizen of the Land will be counted in the army, inherit an ancestral inheritance, and elect or be elected in the elections. A citizen also bequeaths citizenship and an ancestral inheritance to his children, subject to the Constitution and the law.

A son or daughter of a citizen man and a citizen woman are entitled to citizenship. A son or daughter of the progeny of Israel by both their parents, whether they are regarded as Jews or as converts, are entitled to citizenship. For a son or daughter of a mother or a father regarded legally as Jewish, for the duration of at least two generations prior to when this clause comes into effect, there is no need to prove that they are from the progeny of Israel from this side of the family, as a condition for receiving citizenship.

Despite what was stated prior, a citizen who was regarded as Jewish before this clause comes into effect, will remain a citizen, and for one who risked his life to convert to Judaism prior to the commencement of the Third Temple period, the king is authorized to grant him citizenship. (T) For a citizen regarded as a non-Jew before this clause comes into effect, unless proven that he is from the progeny of Israel from both his parents, his citizenship is hereby revoked, unless he served in the IDF, and on the condition that he complete the conversion process within seven years, as prescribed by law. (T)

A male resident who has been proven to be a direct male descendent of Israel [Jacob], from father to father for generations, even if he is not regarded as a Jew, he is entitled to citizenship after legal conversion. A resident daughter of Israel, whose father has been proven to be a direct male descendent of Israel, from father to father for generations, even if she is not considered to be Jewish, she is entitled to citizenship after she legally marries a citizen. A resident daughter of Israel, who has been proven to be a direct female descendent of one of the many matriarchs of the [Israelite] people, from mother to mother for generations, even if she is not considered to be Jewish, she is entitled to citizenship after she legally marries a citizen.

A son or daughter of a male citizen and a female convert are entitled to citizenship, in accordance with the law. A male resident or a female resident, the son or daughter of a male citizen and a foreign woman, are entitled to citizenship after legal conversion, in accordance with the law. A female resident who is the daughter of a female citizen and a foreign man is entitled to citizenship after legal conversion, and if she is the daughter of a female citizen and a male convert, she is entitled to citizenship, in accordance with the law. A male resident who is the son of a second-generation male convert and a female citizen or convert, is entitled to citizenship, and a male resident who is the son of a second-generation male convert and a foreign woman, is entitled to citizenship after legal conversion, in accordance with the law. A foreign man and a foreign woman, under this topic section, include a foreign non-Jewish permanent resident.

The king is authorized to grant honorary citizenship, in accordance with the law.

As a prerequisite for receiving citizenship, a male resident shall be circumcised, pass examinations, swear allegiance, and be counted in the army, as prescribed by law. As a prerequisite for receiving citizenship, a female resident shall pass examinations and swear allegiance, by law. This is in addition to national service or marriage to a citizen. Native born children and those who immigrate at a young age shall take their examinations within the framework of their high school studies, and in addition they will be required to achieve twenty educational ranks for boys and ten ranks for girls, as prescribed by law. (M) Educational ranks for boys will be granted in appreciation for drawing closer to the Lord, for studies in the Temple compound and for knowledge of the Torah, and for girls also in appreciation of the sanctity of spirit and body. (M) A foreigner, convert and variations thereof who are requesting citizenship, shall prove themselves and their loyalty in actions, as prescribed by law. In addition to any requirement, one who requests citizenship shall display a willingness to listen to and obey all the Commandments of the Pentateuch, and he shall not detest the ethics of the Torah which the State exhorts in the educational system, in the media and in the social norms. (M)

As a prerequisite to be counted in the army, a male resident, a Levi and a Cohen included, must perform a two-year national service. Whoever has reached the age of twenty years before this clause comes into effect or prior to having immigrated to the Land [of Israel], is entitled to a shortened national service, as prescribed by law. A female minor is permitted to volunteer to an early national service in the framework of her studies, and a maiden or woman is entitled to citizenship commencing from the age of seventeen. A man is entitled to citizenship commencing from the age of twenty, the age of the military census, but he is given a preliminary right to vote in the context of his national service, commencing from the age of eighteen, in accordance with the law. The national service is a service to the State, as prescribed by law, and will include within it a general educational element, or an occupational educational element for those who serve full time. (M) The national service is unpaid, but the State is required to provide for the necessities of the servant and to pay him a release grant. (M) The national service is not mandatory, but it serves as a precondition for receiving citizenship, therefore whoever is uninterested or unwilling to meet the general requirements, will not serve and will not receive citizenship. (M) The State will provide an adequate, equal and nondiscriminatory opportunity for anyone who lawfully requests to serve, for the term of the required period until its completion, and for an additional period as one should request to volunteer. (M)

The following is the original Hebrew, for those who would like to read it:

אזרח

ד-בני ישראל, תושבי הארץ, זכאים לאזרחות, בכפוף לחוקה ולחוק. ד-אזרחות ישראלית אינה מובטחת מלידה, והמבקש אותה יוכיח את עצמו וירוויח את אזרחותו. ד-רק אזרח הארץ ייפקד בצבא, יינחל נחלה, ויבחר או ייבחר בבחירות. ד-אזרח גם מוריש אזרחות ונחלה לבניו, בכפוף לחוקה ולחוק.

ד-בן או בת אזרח ואזרחית, זכאים לאזרחות. ד-בן או בת מזרע ישראל משני הוריהם, המוחזקים כיהודיים או כגרים, זכאים לאזרחות. ד-בן או בת אם או אב המוחזקים כיהודים כדין, למשך שני דורות לפחות בטרם כניסת סעיף זה לתוקף, אין צורך להוכיח שהם מזרע ישראל בצד הזה כתנאי לקבלת אזרחות.

ד-על אף האמור לעיל, אזרח המוחזק כיהודי לפני כניסת סעיף זה לתוקף, יישאר אזרח, ומי שסיכן את חייו להתגייר לפני תקופת בית שלישי, המלך רשאי להניק לו אזרחות. (ת) ד-אזרח המוחזק כלא יהודי לפני כניסת סעיף זה לתוקף, אם לא הוכח שהוא מזרע ישראל משני הוריו, אזרחותו בטלה, למעט אם שירת בצה״ל ובתנאי שישלים תהליך גיור תוך שבע שנים, כנקבע בחוק. (ת)

ד-תושב זכר שהוכח כי הוא מזרע ישראל ישירות, מאב לאב לדורות, גם אם אינו מוחזק כיהודי, זכאי הוא לאזרחות לאחר גיור כדין. ד-תושבת בת ישראל, שהוכח כי אביה מזרע ישראל ישירות, מאב לאב לדורות, גם אם אינה מוחזקת כיהודייה, זכאית היא לאזרחות לאחר שנישאה לאזרח כדין. ד-תושבת בת ישראל, שהוכח כי היא צאצא ישיר של אחת מאימהות העם הרבות, מאם לאם לדורות, גם אם אינה מוחזקת כיהודייה, זכאית היא לאזרחות לאחר שנישאה כדין לאזרח.

ד-בן או בת אזרח וגיורת זכאים לאזרחות, בכפוף לחוק. ד-תושב או תושבת בן או בת אזרח ואשה נכריה, זכאים לאזרחות לאחר גיור כדין, בכפוף לחוק. ד-תושבת בת לאזרחית ולאיש נכרי זכאית לאזרחות לאחר גיור כדין, ובת לאזרחית ולגר זכאית לאזרחות, בכפוף לחוק. ד-תושב בן לגר דור שני ולאזרחית או לגיורת זכאי לאזרחות, ותושב בן לגר דור שני ולנכריה זכאי לאזרחות לאחר גיור כדין, בכפוף לחוק. ד-נכרי ונכריה לעניין נושא זה, לרבות גר תושב.

ד-המלך רשאי להעניק אזרחות כבוד, בכפוף לחוק.

ד-כתנאי לקבלת אזרחות, יהיה תושב זכר נמול ערלה, יעבור בחינות, ישביע נאמנות, וייפקד בצבא, כמוגדר בחוק. ד-כתנאי לקבלת אזרחות, תעבור תושבת בחינות ותשביע נאמנות כחוק. זאת בנוסף לשירות או נישואים לאזרח. ד-ילידי הארץ והעולים בגיל צעיר ייגשו לבחינות במסגרת לימודי התיכון, ובנוסף יהיה עליהם לקבל עשרים דרגות חינוך לבנים ועשר דרגות לבנות, כמוגדר בחוק. (מ) ד-דרגות חינוך לבנים יוענקו כהוקרה לקירוב לה', לימודים במתחם המקדש, ודעת התורה, ולבנות כהוקרה גם לקדושת הנפש והגוף. (מ) ד-נכרי, גר, וכדומה, המבקשים אזרחות, יוכיחו את עצמם ואת נאמנותם במעשים, כנקבע בחוק. ד-בנוסף לכל חובה, המבקש אזרחות יפגין נכונות לשמוע ולעשות את כל מצוות התורה, ולא יתעב את מוסר התורה אשר תטיף המדינה בחינוך, בתקשורת, ובכללים החברתיים. (מ)

ד-כתנאי להתפקדות בצבא חייב תושב שנתיים שירות, לרבות לוי וכהן. ד-מי שמלאו לו עשרים שנה בטרם כניסת סעיף זה לתוקף או בטרם עלייתו לארץ, זכאי לשרות מקוצר, כמוגדר בחוק. ד-קטינה רשאית להתנדב לשירות מוקדם במסגרת לימודיה, ונערה או אשה זכאית לאזרחות החל מגיל שבע עשרה. ד-איש זכאי לאזרחות החל מגיל עשרים, גיל הפיקוד, אך ניתנת לו זכות הצבעה מוקדמת במסגרת שירותו, החל מגיל שמונה עשרה, בכפוף לחוק. ד-השירות הוא שרות למדינה, כמוגדר בחוק, ויכלול בתוכו מרכיב חינוכי כללי או מקצועי למשרת במשרה מלאה. (מ) ד-השירות הוא ללא שכר, אך המדינה אחראית לצרכיו של המשרת ולשלם לו מענק שחרור. (מ) ד-השירות אינו חובה, אך מהווה תנאי לקבלת אזרחות, לכן מי שלא מעוניין או לא מוכן לעמוד בתנאים הכלליים לא ישרת ולא יקבל אזרחות. (מ) ד-המדינה תספק הזדמנות נאותה, שוויונית, ולא מפלה, לכל המבקש כדין לשרת לתקופה הנדרשת עד תומה, ולתקופה נוספת ככל שיבקש להתנדב. (מ)

In the next article we will discuss the main points of these clauses and what they would mean for Israel should we adopt them, so look out for it!

Yshai Amichai is a father of six and the author of the Hebrew book, “The Constitution of Israel” ("חוקת ישראל"), and the English book, “The Upright One,” both of which will be made available to the public soon. You may contact him by email: yshaia@gmail.com