German government reveals new Israel-related citizenship test questions

German government reveals new Israel-related citizenship test questions

The German Interior Ministry has revealed further information about the 12 new questions related to Judaism and Israel which will be included in the country’s citizenship test.

New questions on Israel and Judaism added to German citizenship test

New questions on Judaism, Israel and Germany’s relationship to the state will soon be added to the naturalisation tests for citizenship, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has revealed in an interview with SPIEGEL Online.

“From the German crime against humanity that was the Holocaust come our special responsibilities to protecting Jewish people and the state of Israel. This responsibility is a part of our contemporary identity,” Faeser said in the interview, adding that anyone who wants to be a German must know “what that means and acknowledge these responsibilities”.

To create a German naturalisation test, authorities take 33 questions from a bank of 300 questions. 30 of the selected questions relate to German history, politics and culture, while three specifically relate to the federal state in which the applicant lives.

According to the interview with Faeser, the following questions will now be added to this bank: 

  1. How many years ago did the first Jewish people live in what is now Germany? 
    Answer: Around 1700 years ago
  2. What is a Jewish centre of worship called?
    Answer: A synagogue
  3. What do stumbling stones (Stolpersteine) commemorate?
    Answer: Victims of National Socialism
  4. What is an example of antisemitic behaviour?
    Answer: Holocaust denial
  5. What is a possible punishment for Holocaust denial in Germany?
    Answer: A prison sentence of up to five years or a fine
  6. In which year was the state of Israel founded?
    Answer: 1948
  7. On what legal basis was the state of Israel founded?
    Answer: A United Nations resolution
  8. Which country do the majority of Jews who currently live in Germany come from?
    Answer: Former Soviet Union counties
  9. In which German cities do the largest Jewish communities live?
    Answer: Berlin and Munich
  10. Who can join a Jewish Maccabi sports club?
    Answer: Anyone
  11. What are the reasons that Germany has a special responsibility for Israel?
    Answer: Crimes committed under National Socialism
  12. What statements related to Israel are forbidden in Germany?
    Answer: Publicly calling for the end of the state of Israel

No further decision on Saxony-Anhalt citizenship declaration on Israel

Faeser’s announcement in SPIEGEL follows a decision in December by the Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt to include a new question in its citizenship tests, in which applicants would be asked to formally declare that they “recognise Israel's right to exist and condemn any efforts directed against the existence of the State of Israel".

Since Hamas’ attack on October 7, attitudes towards Israel’s consequent bombardment in Gaza have caused increasing friction between Germans, Germany and the international community living in Germany, among whom pro-Palestine sentiment is more often publicly expressed. Increasing crackdowns on pro-Palestine protests and antisemitism which followed October 7, Germany has also been internationally criticised for silencing criticism of the Israeli government, especially in the cultural sector.

Currently, anyone who does a citizenship test in Germany must declare that they recognise all of the states that Germany recognises, which includes Israel. However, the announcement in Saxony was met with criticism from legal professionals, who suggested that asking applicants to declare their recognition of Israel specifically has “no legal basis”. German courts are yet to decide whether the addition is legally sound.

When authorities in Saxony-Anhalt announced that they would add the declaration requirement, Faeser said that she would be open to adopting the question at the federal level, meaning that applicants in all 16 states would be required to sign the statement or be denied a passport. However, upon announcing the 12 new questions for the test, the minister gave no update as to whether this was still the plan.

Thumb image credit: philip1234 /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

Read more



Leave a comment