Number of Israelis applying for German passports soars
The number of Israelis of German descent applying for German passports has soared in recent years and is now 10 times higher than the number trying to obtain citizenship from other European countries, a new Israeli study has found, DPA reported.
According to the study conducted by Sima Zalcberg of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, and quoted Tuesday in the Yediot Ahranot daily, some 100,000 Israelis currently hold German passports, and more than 70,000 have been granted since the year 2000.
The embassies of countries such as Poland, Romania and Austria, by comparison, report issuing only 5,000 to 6,000 passports throughout the last decade.
Previously, Israelis eligible for German passports - the descendants of those whose citizenship was annulled by the Nazis - were reticent to apply, because of their anger over the German attempted genocide of the Jews during World War II.
But according to the study, German passports are now sought after, either due to a wish to regain citizenship nixed by the Nazis, or because of the benefits a German passport brings, such as being able to visit countries off-limits to Israelis. There is also the benefit of not needing a visa to visit the United States.
The German Foreign Office in Berlin said it could not say how many Israelis held German passports, since there was no foreign population register.