Center for the Defence of the Individual - Court again criticizes National Insurance Institute’s baseless decision to revoke Jerusalem Palestinians’ health insurance and other social security rights
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Court again criticizes National Insurance Institute’s baseless decision to revoke Jerusalem Palestinians’ health insurance and other social security rights

In early June 2021, HaMoked started receiving requests for assistance from Jerusalemite Palestinians who discovered that the National Insurance Institute (NII) had suddenly revoked their families’ entitlement to health insurance and other social security rights (i.e., revoking their residency status for the purpose of national insurance). This, so it seems, was done for no legitimate reason but rather as collective punishment against the city’s indigenous population in response to the protests and rioting that took place in East Jerusalem and elsewhere the previous month. By February 2022, the NII had retracted its decision in eight cases handled by HaMoked, (three of them following written objections to the NII and five following urgent appeals to the Labor Court), but without providing any explanation for its conduct in these cases. In response to HaMoked’s freedom-of-information petitions on the matter, the NII admitted that in this series of cases it had relied solely on the basis of information from the Israel Security Agency (ISA), without conducting any independent check before the residency revocations.

Another HaMoked case came to a successful conclusion in late August 2022, this one concerning the May 2021 arbitrary revocation of the residency of a Jerusalemite couple and their five minor children. In the judgment of August 25, 2022, Jerusalem District Labor Court Judge Barag-Hirshberg sharply criticized the NII’s conduct, as she did in an earlier judgment in a similar case. Judge Barag-Hirshberg summed up the case: “Once more a case is brought before us where residency is revoked of insured persons, with all that this entails, [and where] a direct appeal to the Respondent encounters, at best, ‘foot dragging’, and immediately following the filing of the claim to the Court, the Respondent announces ‘… that it decided to reinstate the residency of the [woman], her spouse and her children’” (emphasis in the original). The judge detailed the NII’s unacceptable conduct, including its claim that after it reversed its decision “… it was not obligated to explain the basis for that decision” (emphasis in the original). The Judge also noted that following HaMoked’s freedom-of-information petition on this matter, it turned out that no information had been found by the NII against the woman to justify the revocation. The judge also noted that on HaMoked’s demand, the NII had to renew the family members’ residency “retroactively and without interruption”.

In discussing court costs, Judge Barag-Hirshberg noted the special circumstances, including “the fact that the NII did not comply with the Court’s decision by refusing to offer any explanation for its conduct. In these exceptional circumstances it seems there is no choice but remind [the NII] that the Court’s decisions are not an unbinding recommendation”. She therefore ordered the NII to pay court costs “on the high side” to the sum of NIS 15,000.

The Judge concluded thus: “It is to be hoped and presumed that the NII will derive the appropriate conclusions from this judgment as well as from the other proceedings I detailed”. The NII must desist from serving as an ISA tool of intimidation and stop illegally revoking social security rights, especially from the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem.