HaMoked files an administrative objection against the decision to refuse a family unification application due to "absence of center of life": an examination of the materials upon which the interior ministry based its decision, points to selective reading and the use of dubious investigation methods המוקד להגנת הפרט
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05.07.2012
HaMoked files an administrative objection against the decision to refuse a family unification application due to "absence of center of life": an examination of the materials upon which the interior ministry based its decision, points to selective reading and the use of dubious investigation methods
HaMoked files an administrative objection against the decision to refuse a family unification application due to "absence of center of life": an examination of the materials upon which the interior ministry based its decision, points to selective reading and the use of dubious investigation methods
On April 16, 2008, a Palestinian woman who is an Israeli resident applied for family unification with her husband, and for the registration of her five children in the Israeli population registry, who, like their father, were residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In August 2009, the Ministry of Interior refused her application on the grounds that the woman had not proved as required that her "center of life" in the two years preceding her application had been in Israel. Both the administrative objection and appeal against the decision which were submitted to the interior ministry were rejected, despite the proofs repeatedly presented by the woman, which showed that she and her family had relocated to East Jerusalem in January 2006. The interior ministry dismissed this evidence and chose to base its decision on the findings of an inquiry regarding the family which the National Insurance Institute (NII) had made through a private investigation office concerning an unrelated issue. The findings seemed to suggest that the family had only moved to East Jerusalem in 2007, nonetheless, the NII itself chose not to adopt the conclusions of the private investigator, and recognized the woman as eligible for NII benefits, since January 2006 already.

On April 6, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs, to instruct the interior ministry to repeal its refusal of the family unification and child registration applications. HaMoked argues that in order to reach a balanced and well-founded decision, the interior ministry must view the primary documents of the investigation and not rely on the assessments given in the summaries of the private investigator. HaMoked added that the interior ministry's role is to exercise discretion and the automatic acceptance of the conclusions of a private office, rendered the interior ministry's decision unreasonable, more so given the severe harm caused thereby to the petitioners' right to family life.

Following the hearing on the case, the interior ministry took upon itself to reconsider the application, and, inter alia, examine for the purpose the transcriptions of the private investigation. Once it was agreed that HaMoked could also examine these transcripts, the petition was withdrawn.

On January 9, 2012, six months after the decision was given, the interior ministry rejected the application once more, claiming that a reading of the transcripts gave further support to the conclusion that the family did not meet the criteria for family unification. The interior ministry went on to quote certain passages from the investigation transcripts, purported to prove that the family had only moved to East Jerusalem in 2007. Despite the outline agreed upon at the court hearing, the interior ministry omitted to deliver the transcripts for HaMoked to review. As it was impossible to address the refusal properly without having access to the full investigation transcripts, HaMoked repeatedly requested the interior ministry and the District Attorney's Office, to deliver the transcripts.

On June 17, 2012, almost a year after the court gave its decision, HaMoked finally received the investigation transcripts from the private investigations office. A review of the materials suggests that the interior ministry chose the quotes supporting its refusal in a selective and biased manner, disregarding all the evidence and assertions which support the claim that the family had moved to Jerusalem in 2006. Furthermore, the transcriptions paints a worrying picture of the investigative methods used by the private investigator, who was not averse to use objectionable tactics in questioning his subjects of inquiry, among them, lies, threats and manipulations.

On July 2, 2012, HaMoked filed an administrative objection against the interior ministry's refusal, based on the investigation transcripts. HaMoked stressed that under the private investigators' ethics code, a private investigator must conduct investigations with an adequate degree of caution, professionalism, and conscientiousness, and using legitimate, aboveboard and fair methods. Emotional manipulation of the person being questioned or the exploitation of his weaknesses do not meet this code, and any so-called "information" obtained through the manipulative and threatening means of investigation, such as the ones used in this case, should not be given weight in the decision making of interior ministry.

HaMoked again calls upon the interior ministry to act as required by its capacity as an executive administrative authority, and reach decisions based on sound and reliable evidence, taking into account the woman's right to legally live with her family in their home in East Jerusalem.
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On April 16, 2008, a Palestinian woman who is an Israeli resident applied for family unification with her husband, and for the registration of her five children in the Israeli population registry, who, like their father, were residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In August 2009, the Ministry of Interior refused her application on the grounds that the woman had not proved as required that her "center of life" in the two years preceding her application had been in Israel. Both the administrative objection and appeal against the decision which were submitted to the interior ministry were rejected, despite the proofs repeatedly presented by the woman, which showed that she and her family had relocated to East Jerusalem in January 2006. The interior ministry dismissed this evidence and chose to base its decision on the findings of an inquiry regarding the family which the National Insurance Institute (NII) had made through a private investigation office concerning an unrelated issue. The findings seemed to suggest that the family had only moved to East Jerusalem in 2007, nonetheless, the NII itself chose not to adopt the conclusions of the private investigator, and recognized the woman as eligible for NII benefits, since January 2006 already.

On April 6, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs, to instruct the interior ministry to repeal its refusal of the family unification and child registration applications. HaMoked argues that in order to reach a balanced and well-founded decision, the interior ministry must view the primary documents of the investigation and not rely on the assessments given in the summaries of the private investigator. HaMoked added that the interior ministry's role is to exercise discretion and the automatic acceptance of the conclusions of a private office, rendered the interior ministry's decision unreasonable, more so given the severe harm caused thereby to the petitioners' right to family life.

Following the hearing on the case, the interior ministry took upon itself to reconsider the application, and, inter alia, examine for the purpose the transcriptions of the private investigation. Once it was agreed that HaMoked could also examine these transcripts, the petition was withdrawn.

On January 9, 2012, six months after the decision was given, the interior ministry rejected the application once more, claiming that a reading of the transcripts gave further support to the conclusion that the family did not meet the criteria for family unification. The interior ministry went on to quote certain passages from the investigation transcripts, purported to prove that the family had only moved to East Jerusalem in 2007. Despite the outline agreed upon at the court hearing, the interior ministry omitted to deliver the transcripts for HaMoked to review. As it was impossible to address the refusal properly without having access to the full investigation transcripts, HaMoked repeatedly requested the interior ministry and the District Attorney's Office, to deliver the transcripts.

On June 17, 2012, almost a year after the court gave its decision, HaMoked finally received the investigation transcripts from the private investigations office. A review of the materials suggests that the interior ministry chose the quotes supporting its refusal in a selective and biased manner, disregarding all the evidence and assertions which support the claim that the family had moved to Jerusalem in 2006. Furthermore, the transcriptions paints a worrying picture of the investigative methods used by the private investigator, who was not averse to use objectionable tactics in questioning his subjects of inquiry, among them, lies, threats and manipulations.

On July 2, 2012, HaMoked filed an administrative objection against the interior ministry's refusal, based on the investigation transcripts. HaMoked stressed that under the private investigators' ethics code, a private investigator must conduct investigations with an adequate degree of caution, professionalism, and conscientiousness, and using legitimate, aboveboard and fair methods. Emotional manipulation of the person being questioned or the exploitation of his weaknesses do not meet this code, and any so-called "information" obtained through the manipulative and threatening means of investigation, such as the ones used in this case, should not be given weight in the decision making of interior ministry.

HaMoked again calls upon the interior ministry to act as required by its capacity as an executive administrative authority, and reach decisions based on sound and reliable evidence, taking into account the woman's right to legally live with her family in their home in East Jerusalem.
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