The Supreme Court dismisses HaMoked's petition: the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of a permanent resident from East Jerusalem twice for the same reason המוקד להגנת הפרט
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15.05.2012
The Supreme Court dismisses HaMoked's petition: the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of a permanent resident from East Jerusalem twice for the same reason
The Supreme Court dismisses HaMoked's petition: the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of a permanent resident from East Jerusalem twice for the same reason
In the late 1980's, an Israeli resident from East Jerusalem left for Russia to study advanced physics. Upon his return to Israel in 2000, he discovered that the Ministry of Interior had revoked his permanent Israeli residency status due to his acquired Russian citizenship. After a protracted administrative battle, the interior ministry reinstated his permanent Israeli status.

Ten years later, when the man – by then married with three children – became ill with cancer, he was distressed to discover that once again, the Ministry of Interior had revoked his residency status, hence also his health insurance, on the same grounds as in the previous revocation in the 1990's.

When his illness became more severe, the man contacted HaMoked, which in August 2011 filed an urgent request to reinstate the man's Israeli residency, asserting that the revocation was illegal because the decision had been made without following due administrative procedure. Thereupon, the interior ministry summoned the man to an administrative hearing, during which it was proved that his "center of life" was in Israel. Again, the interior ministry decided to reinstate the man's residency status, "subject to the responses of security officials".

On January 26, 2012, after four months had passed without the anticipated security response – despite HaMoked's administrative application over the authorities' lack of response – HaMoked petitioned the Court for administrative Affairs to order the Ministry of Interior to reinstate the man's status. HaMoked argued that the revocation was completely unjustified, given the fact that the man was living with his family in East Jerusalem since the early 2000's. Therefore, in view of the fact that the revocation had no merit to begin with, the decision of the interior ministry should be repealed, and the reinstatement should not be conditional upon "the responses of security officials", as if it concerned a foreign national seeking status.

While the petition was still ongoing, the interior ministry rejected the request based on the recommendation of security officials.

On March 26, 2012, after an ex parte review of the classified material, the district court dismissed the petition, disregarding the fact that the man has been living in Jerusalem for the past decade and the fact that that this was a double revocation on the same grounds. The court ruled that the revocation had been executed legally, because at a certain point prior to 2006, the man's status had "expired of itself", following the man's stay and naturalization in Russia. Despite the personal and medical circumstances of the man – who was now without health insurance – the court ruled the decision not to reinstate his status had been "reasonable".

HaMoked appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, arguing that a ruling which finds that a permanent residency status has "expired of itself" cannot stand, because the interior ministry is the one which holds the authority to decide whether a person may or may not keep his status. HaMoked also contended that a repeat revocation of residency based on exactly the same circumstances, transforms the permanent residency status of East Jerusalemites into a precarious status which can be revoked repeatedly.

On May 10, 2012, the court dismissed the appeal. The justices allowed HaMoked to reserve its general claims and resubmit them at a future date, but determined that in view of the security material, there was no reason to reinstate the man's permanent status. Nonetheless, the court ruled that given his medical condition, the man should be accorded temporary Israeli status (visa type A5), including health insurance, for a period of 6 months, to allow him to cope with his illness at his home in East Jerusalem.
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In the late 1980's, an Israeli resident from East Jerusalem left for Russia to study advanced physics. Upon his return to Israel in 2000, he discovered that the Ministry of Interior had revoked his permanent Israeli residency status due to his acquired Russian citizenship. After a protracted administrative battle, the interior ministry reinstated his permanent Israeli status.

Ten years later, when the man – by then married with three children – became ill with cancer, he was distressed to discover that once again, the Ministry of Interior had revoked his residency status, hence also his health insurance, on the same grounds as in the previous revocation in the 1990's.

When his illness became more severe, the man contacted HaMoked, which in August 2011 filed an urgent request to reinstate the man's Israeli residency, asserting that the revocation was illegal because the decision had been made without following due administrative procedure. Thereupon, the interior ministry summoned the man to an administrative hearing, during which it was proved that his "center of life" was in Israel. Again, the interior ministry decided to reinstate the man's residency status, "subject to the responses of security officials".

On January 26, 2012, after four months had passed without the anticipated security response – despite HaMoked's administrative application over the authorities' lack of response – HaMoked petitioned the Court for administrative Affairs to order the Ministry of Interior to reinstate the man's status. HaMoked argued that the revocation was completely unjustified, given the fact that the man was living with his family in East Jerusalem since the early 2000's. Therefore, in view of the fact that the revocation had no merit to begin with, the decision of the interior ministry should be repealed, and the reinstatement should not be conditional upon "the responses of security officials", as if it concerned a foreign national seeking status.

While the petition was still ongoing, the interior ministry rejected the request based on the recommendation of security officials.

On March 26, 2012, after an ex parte review of the classified material, the district court dismissed the petition, disregarding the fact that the man has been living in Jerusalem for the past decade and the fact that that this was a double revocation on the same grounds. The court ruled that the revocation had been executed legally, because at a certain point prior to 2006, the man's status had "expired of itself", following the man's stay and naturalization in Russia. Despite the personal and medical circumstances of the man – who was now without health insurance – the court ruled the decision not to reinstate his status had been "reasonable".

HaMoked appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, arguing that a ruling which finds that a permanent residency status has "expired of itself" cannot stand, because the interior ministry is the one which holds the authority to decide whether a person may or may not keep his status. HaMoked also contended that a repeat revocation of residency based on exactly the same circumstances, transforms the permanent residency status of East Jerusalemites into a precarious status which can be revoked repeatedly.

On May 10, 2012, the court dismissed the appeal. The justices allowed HaMoked to reserve its general claims and resubmit them at a future date, but determined that in view of the security material, there was no reason to reinstate the man's permanent status. Nonetheless, the court ruled that given his medical condition, the man should be accorded temporary Israeli status (visa type A5), including health insurance, for a period of 6 months, to allow him to cope with his illness at his home in East Jerusalem.
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