The number of Palestinians applying for Israeli citizenship has been growing slowly but steadily, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The reason: greater stability. Throughout East Jerusalem, more and more Palestinians are seeking a better life for their children, greater ease of travel and a guarantee of access to Jerusalem.
In order to apply for Israeli citizenship, a Palestinian resident must demonstrate that his primary residence is in Jerusalem and that he has no criminal record, although Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ilana Stein added, “security concerns can arise on individual cases.”
Some of those who have applied for citizenship have faced subsequent discrimination at home from friends and family. One man described how his “uncle got angry and asked, ‘Did you forget to love your city and your country?’” Others have said that while citizenship improved their lives, it did not eliminate the discrimination experienced within Israel. Despite this, a 2011 survey by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that almost half of East Jerusalem’s residents would rather live under Israeli rule than Palestinian, with 42% admitting they would even move to another neighborhood if necessary.