Last Thursday, May 18th, The Israeli Association for International Couples, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Institution for Justice, have submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court. The petition challenges the current policy of the Minister of Interior and his “passport marathon” outline, that has led to the shutdown of various visa departments around the country and the cancellation of hundreds of visa appointments.
In the petition, which was also joined by 5 private petitioners who were personally harmed by the policy, we claimed that the decision of the Minister of the Interior and the manner of its implementation by the Population and Immigration Authority were extremely unreasonable, discriminative and disproportionate and that they result in a violation of the rights of thousands of Israeli citizens and their families.
It was also stated in the petition that the decision regarding the total shutdown of the services of PIBA was not published transparently to the public, and no alternative was presented for citizens who are treated at the offices that are affected by the move, especially regarding visa department services that cannot be obtained at other offices. To clarify, the extension of existing visas does not obviate the need to hold meetings for those who have not yet received initial status or those who are entitled to upgrade status or citizenship, and does not constitute a solution to urgent/temporary requests that are frequently handled in the visa department (including requests for intervisas for those who reside in Israel legally and wishes to return to it).
It is true that the plight of passports is great and a solution must be found for it, but it is not possible to correct one serious problem by creating another serious problem, in the framework of the treatment of Israeli citizens who are waiting for months for approval of family reunification with their spouses, Olim who are waiting to receive their status, or people whose time has come to receive Israeli citizenship or another status, will be postponed to a later or unknown date.
The petition was submitted after repeated inquiries by human rights organizations to the Minister of the Interior and the Population Authority remained unanswered. As part of the petition, we asked to cancel the “passport marathon” outline or to reduce it in a way that would ensure adequate access to all the services provided by the Population Authority.
Please follow our Facebook page for regular updates about the petition and the current shutdown.
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