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Quasi-ethnic capital vs. quasi-citizenship capital: Access to Israeli citizenship

Dani Kranz


Israel defines itself as a Jewish state by way of ideology, policy, and constitutionality. Jewish immigration is encouraged, and rewarded with direct access to Israeli citizenship for olim (Jewish immigrants) and their immediate family. The legal situation for foreign, non-Jewish partners, and spouses of Israeli Jewish citizens is different: these non-Jewish immigrants can potentially access Israeli citizenship through the Nationality Law. These different inroads into Israeli citizenship for both groups must be seen in connection to diasporic Jewish history, Israeli history, the country’s geopolitical situation, as well as attitudes toward intermarriage. In practice this means that the incorporation of non-Jewish spouses of olim is a compromise to bolster Jewish immigration, while the problems of incorporating the partners/spouses of Israeli Jewish citizens stem from (historic and current) negative attitudes toward intermarriage, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and labour migration, all of which ramify into the issue of family reunion for all Israeli citizens.


citizenship; migration; policy; family reunion; Israel

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