Monday, February 25, 2008

Citizenship of Israeli Messianic Jews under threat

An update letter from Michael Decker who works with Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute for Justice:

Lately a very disturbing situation has been occurring whereby the Minister of Interior has attempted to revoke the citizenship of Jewish believers who have immigrated into Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. The main claim is that these people have immigrated into Israel on the basis of falsified information.

According to the current legal situation in Israel, the authority to begin the procedure of revoking a person's citizenship is given to the Minister of Interior. The Minister of Interior then gathers the evidence whereupon he decides to revoke a person's citizenship and also makes the decision based on the evidence that he himself gathers. Furthermore, the final process of executing the final decision is also given exclusively to the Minister of Interior. By right (de jure), the law itself does not provide any appeal procedure.

This situation is very disturbing and it has a direct effect on the local Messianic community in Israel since many well known Israeli Messianic leaders have received such notices from the Ministry of Interior.

The Jerusalem Institute of Justice wishes to change this disturbing legal situation and we believe that such a change is possible. We intend to utilize various examples of mistakes made by the Ministry of Interior wherein an attempt was made to revoke a person's citizenship based on falsified information which the person had presented, when in reality this person did not present falsified information at all and has basically been a victim to this unrestrained authority granted to the Minister of Interior.

In order to publish this information, we would need to hire a lobbying company who would post articles and news broadcasts including true stories of mistakes made by the Minister of Interior, while at the same time we would submit an amendment to the two existing sections in the Law of Citizenship and in the Law of entry into Israel which grants the Minister of Interior this authority.

We will propose that this right be stripped from the Minister of Interior and given to the judicial authorities. If a registration clerk desires to revoke a person's citizenship, it should not be done in a closed, hidden or secretive manner. We believe that a proper process would be for the Ministry of Interior to submit a letter of indictment before a court of justice, which would thereby give a citizen the chance to defend himself. Subsequently, a neutral judge would decide according to the evidence, presented before him by both parties.

If this amendment passes, then the Ministry of Interior will be obligated to write a statement of claim accusing a person merely because of his religious beliefs. It goes without saying that such a prerequisite would prevent the Ministry of Interior from beginning a procedure to revoke the citizenship of a person merely because of his religious worldview.

We estimate that such a venture would end up costing approximately $150,000 USD - $200,000 USD. Please consider partnering with us in this extremely important campaign. We also believe that this is a very urgent matter that should not be deferred.

Let us continue to work together to advance civil rights, freedom of religion and social justice in our great nation. Thank you again for your meaningful support and prayers.

We are making available online an article that I wrote which further describes the legal situation regarding citizenship revocation in Israel. To view this article as a .pdf document:

Click the 'Revocation of Citizens' article link.

Sincerely Yours,

Michael Decker, Senior Legal Activist


Phil Sumpter said...

Non Jewish missionary friends of mine recieved permanant residency. A few months later Shas took over the interior ministry, revoked it and had them deported. After a long legal battle it was finally revoked, but it's shocking at how unjust that system is.

James said...

yeah I know, we need to pray on for full freedom for the gospel in Israel, thanks for your concern!