Center for the Defence of the Individual - 19 years after an East Jerusalem woman escaped from her abusive husband and returned to her native city: the Ministry of Interior reinstates her status of permanent Israeli residency
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

19 years after an East Jerusalem woman escaped from her abusive husband and returned to her native city: the Ministry of Interior reinstates her status of permanent Israeli residency

At the age of 15, an East Jerusalem resident was married by her family to a Jordanian citizen and was sent to live with him. In 1996, after 17 years of physical and mental abuse by her husband, the woman succeeded to escape from Jordan and return to Jerusalem.

She made huge efforts to rebuild her life, and after arranging her divorce, she married a Palestinian resident of Israel. The couple moved to live in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur, and had a son who received the status of permanent Israeli residency.

In 2004, when she applied to have her identity card renewed, the Ministry of Interior informed her that her status in Israel had been revoked back in 1993, due to her lengthy residence in Jordan.

In May 2012, after eight years of struggle for the restoration of her status, which was revoked in tragic circumstances, the Ministry of Interior notified HaMoked that the interministerial committee on humanitarian affairs had decided to grant the woman a residency and work visa (B/1 visa) for one year, after which, she could apply for temporary status in Israel (A/5 visa). However, when the time came to upgrade the visa, the Ministry of Interior decided to stop the humanitarian process the woman was undergoing, and told her to initiate a procedure of family unification with her husband. This, after the ministry had learnt that the husband, who was simultaneously married to another woman, had recently been widowed from his first wife.

On October 9, 2013, HaMoked submitted a firm objection to this injurious decision to the appellate committee for foreigners. HaMoked argued that the decision blatantly disregarded the fact that the woman was an East Jerusalemite from birth who was seeking the restoration of her status; as such, her application was rooted in her own case, unconnected to her husband and independent of his intention to file for family unification with her. HaMoked recalled that the woman had not relocated to Jordan and lived there of her own free will, but had been forced to do so; HaMoked also stressed that the woman had been living in Israel continuously since 1996; therefore, concluded HaMoked, it was wrong and improper to make her a hostage of her husband – a bigamist until recently – and thus jeopardize her future and her status, while harming the family unit she maintained with her young son.

Alongside the objection, HaMoked requested that the woman’s visa be extended as a temporary relief, because its validity period had expired while the interministerial committee delayed in issuing its decision. The Ministry of Interior agreed to extend the visa's validity period provided that the woman’s status be arranged through a family unification procedure. Only following HaMoked’s administrative petition did the ministry relent and agree to extend the B/1 visa “on an ex gratia basis and given the special circumstances of the case”, pending a decision on the objection.

In March 2014, the woman was given a hearing. Thereupon, the demand for a family unification application on her behalf was abandoned and the woman was given temporary Israeli residency status (A/5 visa) for one year, whereupon her case would be reconsidered. Thus, on July 6, 2014, the woman finally received an Israeli identity card, which afforded her social security rights and national health insurance. It took three more months, for a decision on the objection to be issued. The decision determined only that “it is expected that the Respondent reexamine the case with an open heart and a willing spirit”.

On March 23, 2015, when the temporary ID card was about to expire, HaMoked applied to the Ministry of Interior to upgrade the woman’s status to permanent Israeli residency. HaMoked recalled the difficult humanitarian circumstances underlying the woman’s request to reinstate her status, and noted that there was no doubt that the woman had been maintaining a center of life in Israel for many years now. HaMoked went on to recall the instruction of the appellate committee chair to reconsider the woman’s case “with an open heart and a willing spirit”. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Interior refused the application and decided that the woman should remain in temporary status for another year.

On May 13, 2015, HaMoked appealed the refusal. HaMoked noted, inter alia, that in recent times, the Ministry of Interior no longer directed applicants to seek a B/1 visa in the first year of the process, and instead, started giving them temporary status for two years immediately after approval of the application; thereupon, after two years of legal residence in Israel, the ministry allowed applying for permanent status. HaMoked asserted that if this was the accepted policy when dealing with applicants who had returned to Israel after they had left it voluntarily, surely, the same should apply in the case of a woman who had been taken away from Israel against her will, had lost her Israeli status involuntarily, and has been undergoing a graduated reinstatement process for over two years.

On June 15, 2015, a decade after she applied to have her status restored, the Ministry of Interior notified it decided to restore the woman’s permanent status in Israel.