On January 25, 2017 – in a clear act of collective punishment – the Minister of Interior announced he had revoked the status of 11 family members of the man who perpetrated a deadly attack against Israelis in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017. One of those stripped of status was the assailant’s mother, in her late 60s, who has been living in Jerusalem for over 30 years. Her permanent status was revoked immediately after the attack perpetrated by her son, on the grounds that she was in a bigamous marriage.
HaMoked appealed the revocation and in March 2018 the Appeals Tribunal accepted the appeal, ruling that the Ministry of Interior must reconsider the woman’s case and issue a renewed decision within 75 days. Some 18 months later – and only after HaMoked appealed over the lack of decision – the Ministry of Interior decided yet again to revoke the woman’s status.
HaMoked appealed once more to the Appeals Tribunal on September 26, 2019, seeking the cancellation of the wrongful decision. In the appeal, HaMoked reasserted that the Ministry of Interior’s claim that the woman had obtained her permanent status based on false information was groundless, and that the real reason for the revocation was vengeful collective punishment against an innocent person. Nonetheless, on July 12, 2021, the appeal was rejected and the decision upheld.
On August 4, 2021, HaMoked appealed to the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs against the Tribunal’s judgment. In its judgment of November 25, 2021, the Court held that the revocation decision in this case was particularly consequential, as it would compel a 67-year-old woman “to immediately leave the country where she has lived for most of her life and separate from her family – all of them permanent Israeli residents, and rebuild her life in an unfamiliar environment”. The Court maintained that a particularly weighty evidentiary foundation was required in order to reach such a significant decision, and that the Ministry of Interior had failed to meet these requirements. The Court also noted that the Ministry failed to consider its own policy regarding bigamy in the context of family unification back in 1987, when the woman and her husband applied to grant her status.
The Court, therefore, accepted the appeal and overturned both the Appeals Tribunal judgment and the Ministry’s revocation decision, returning the matter to the Ministry of Interior for a new decision.