33 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 857 (1958)
Citizenship in the State of Israel--A Comment

handle is hein.journals/nylr33 and id is 867 raw text is: CITIZENSHIP IN       THE STATE OF ISRAEL
-A COMMENT
LOUIS A. WARSOFF
WRITTEN into the statute books of Israel is a most unusual law,
the Law of Return.' Enacted by the first Knesset, Israel's par-
liament, on July 5, 1950, the law ensures all Jews everywhere the legal
right to immigrate to Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration deems
that the particular immigrant is acting against the Jewish people or is
likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
The Law of Return, however, did not grant citizenship to anyone.
Indeed, not until July 14, 1952, when the Nationality Law of April 1,
19522 went into effect, did there exist an Israeli nationality for either
native-born or immigrant. Residents of Israel who were nationals of
countries other than Israel had been holding their original nationalities,
while those who were Palestinian nationals under the Mandate had
been technically the citizens of no state at all. Since voting in the
general elections for the Knesset in 1949 and 1951 had been based on
residence and not nationality, it did not grant citizenship or signify
any change in nationality status.
Absence of a nationality law had created a number of judicial
problems, especially in inheritance cases where residents died intestate.
Under prior existing law the estate of a resident who died without
leaving a will was divided in accordance with the inheritance laws of
the country of which the deceased was a national.
Deluged with the innumerable problems a new state faces, plus
the exceptional pressures of a unique immigration policy, the first
Knesset postponed dealing with the nationality issue until July, 1950,
when a draft bill was introduced, passed its first reading, and was sent
to the Constitution, Legislation and Justice Committee of the Knesset
for final drafting. However, before the draft bill could be submitted
for its second reading, the first Knesset was dissolved and the bill had
to be re-introduced in the second Knesset in November, 1951.
During the debates two of the draft bill's twenty clauses provoked
heated discussion. One was the proposal to grant citizenship auto-
matically to (1) all residents who were citizens of Mandated Palestine
before November 30, 1948, and who were included in the national regis-
tration on March 1, 1951, for voting in the elections to the second
Louis A. Warsoff is Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and Associate Pro-
fessor of Political Science at Brooklyn College.
1 Law of July 6, 1950, 51 Sefer Hachukim 159 (Israel).
2 Law of April 8, 1952, 95 Sefer Hachukim 146-49 (Israel).

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Law Review

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