Following HaMoked’s intervention: The National Insurance Institute reversed its decision to arbitrarily revoke health insurance and other social security rights from East Jerusalem residents המוקד להגנת הפרט
30.09.2021
Following HaMoked’s intervention: The National Insurance Institute reversed its decision to arbitrarily revoke health insurance and other social security rights from East Jerusalem residents
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In early June 2021, HaMoked started receiving requests for assistance from Jerusalemite Palestinians who discovered the National Insurance Institute (NII) had suddenly revoked their families’ entitlement to health insurance and other social security rights. Everyone in these families, including the minor children, are permanent residents in Israel, whose center of life has always been in East Jerusalem, where they live, work and study. The families learned about the revocations by accident, without ever receiving an official notice from the NII or a pre-revocation hearing as required. In the absence of any legitimate explanation, it seemed that the NII had taken upon itself to exact collective punishment against the city’s indigenous population, following the protests and rioting that took place across Israel and in East Jerusalem the previous month.

In four of the cases. HaMoked had to file urgent appeals to the Labor Court to demand the restoration of rights, prompted, among other things, by the urgent need for medical treatment of pregnant women and newborns belonging to these families. In all four appeals, the NII retracted the decision to revoke health insurance and other rights – but provided no explanation as to the factual and legal basis behind the revocations. In two of the cases, the Court criticized the NII’s failure to clarify the decision process. During August 2021, three additional cases were resolved without an appeal, after the NII reversed the revocation decision following written objections submitted by HaMoked. Nonetheless, at present some members of these families still face difficulties in having their rights restored and are assisted by HaMoked in the matter.

In September 29, 2021, HaMoked wrote to Minister of Welfare and Social Services Meir Cohen to demand he act to stop this from recurring and clarify how it happened in the first place. This, given the concern that other families might have had their NII rights revoked but do not have the means or the knowledge to challenge the decision, and the fear that this might recur if the NII is not held accountable for these revocation decisions. HaMoked added that Palestinians from East Jerusalem are entitled to subsistence benefits and medical care the same as other Israeli residents and citizens, and that this could amount to matters of life and death.

HaMoked added that revocation without prior notice or prior hearing was utterly unacceptable and strengthened the suspicion that the NII’s motive was simply to punish families of people assumed to have participated in demonstrations a short while before. If so, stressed HaMoked, this constituted an act of revenge on part of the authorities aimed at deterring participation in legitimate political activity. HaMoked noted that in all seven cases, the NII’s decisions were extremely unreasonable and unauthorized, as the revocation was carried out without a minimal factual basis and no legal foundation. Such conduct, HaMoked wrote, was of heightened gravity given that at stake were the basic constitutional rights to human dignity, life and health, as well as the best interests of children – and also in view of the fact that those whose rights were violated belonged to the indigenous population of East Jerusalem.
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