On October 29, 2018, the Appeals Tribunal accepted an appeal submitted by HaMoked against the Ministry of Interior's decision not to grant permanent residency status to a single mother who has been living in East Jerusalem for 15 years. The woman, originally from Jordan, moved to East Jerusalem in 2003 following her marriage to a resident of the city. In 2007, the couple's request for family unification was approved, and two years later the woman received temporary residency status (an A/5 visa) for the first time. But in 2011, after suffering serious domestic abuse at the hands of her husband for years, the woman escaped her home and filed a complaint against him with the police. Immediately after his release from arrest, the husband contacted the Ministry of Interior and claimed that the two were no longer a couple, and their family unification procedure should therefore be cancelled. The woman was thus exposed to expulsion from Jerusalem, and separation from the couple's four daughters.
As such, on January 1, 2012, with HaMoked's help, the woman turned to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Humanitarian Affairs. The Committee is charged, among other things, with reviewing requests submitted by people whose procedures for status were stopped for reasons such as divorce, death of a spouse, or domestic violence. Following a wait of over two years, on April 29, 2014, the Committee announced its decision to grant the woman temporary residency (an A/5 visa) for two years, after which her matter would be reviewed a second time. At the conclusion of the two year period, HaMoked submitted a request to the Committee to upgrade the woman's status to permanent residency, stressing that she has been living in East Jerusalem for over 12 years and is raising her four minor daughters – all of whom are permanent residents – alone. But the Committee rejected the woman's request, stating that the status "was not in the first instance granted under a procedure which permits status upgrade at its conclusion… that is, the decision is humanitarian and exceptional at its essence". The committee thus left the woman with no clear path to permanent and stable status in her home of the past several years.
Following a series of internal appeals against the decision, submitted to the Ministry of Interior by HaMoked, all of which were rejected, on April 11, 2018 HaMoked submitted an appeal to the Appeals Tribunal, claiming that the Committee's rejection letters solely addressed the fact that the woman received her status due to a humanitarian and exceptional decision. The letters did not address the passage of time since the woman moved to East Jerusalem, the many years of violence and neglect she underwent, or the best interest of her four daughters, all of whom are permanent residents. Thus, HaMoked claimed, the Ministry of Interior grossly violated its obligation to base its decisions on a full factual basis, severely violating the woman and her daughters' right to family life. HaMoked stressed that the Ministry's decision in effect sentences the woman to continue filing requests for temporary status every year, with no end in sight.
In a judgment from October 29, 2018, the tribunal ruled that the passage of time since temporary residency was first granted on humanitarian grounds should be a key factor when considering a request for status upgrade. The tribunal rejected the Ministry of Interior's position according to which there must be a change in the applicant's circumstances, or there must be exceptional humanitarian circumstances which justify status upgrade, ruling that this position "creates substantial difficulties and in effect leaves the applicant for status upgrade in a state of uncertainty about his future for many years". The tribunal further emphasized "that the uncertainty and temporariness regarding the appellant's status also harms the sense of stability and security of the minor daughters", and as such "it would have been befitting… to set a predefined timeline for the future upgrade of the appellant's status". Finally, the tribunal ruled that at the date of the termination of the woman's current visa, and barring any security preclusions against her, she will be granted permanent residency. The tribunal further ordered the Ministry of Interior to pay 3,000 NIS in court fees.
It is worth noting that on October 22, 2018, the Inter-Ministerial Committee updated its procedures for granting status on humanitarian grounds, stating that "when a request for upgrade to permanent residency on humanitarian grounds is submitted, it will be discussed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee subject to the applicant having held a temporary residency permit of the A/5 type for at least 10 consecutive years in accordance with this procedure". However, the updated procedure also states that it will consider requests submitted prior to the passage of ten years since the Committee first issued a permit, where it is claimed that a change of the applicant's circumstances has occurred, or there are exceptional circumstances justifying status upgrade.