A discussion was held in the Interior Committee this morning about a suggested amendment to the The Entry to Israel Law (חוק הכניסה לישראל, תשי”ב-1952). Adv. Lior Beres voiced the interest of the International Couples community in the discussion. Here’s her update:
In the bill, PIBA is asking to enact a pre-border-control procedure, that will be done by an automatic system, “behind the scenes”, after check-in to a flight to Israel. The system will get passenger information from the airline (name, passport number, passport expiry date etc), and will automatically issue a simple Yes/No output – allowed to board, or not allowed the board. The result will be then sent to the airline, and airline personnel would be required to not let a rejected passenger travel to Israel.
According to PIBA, this system is meant to prevent the arrival to Israel of passengers that are facing an entry denial at the border. For example, people who stayed illegally in Israel before, who are posing a risk to the state of Israel, that are wanted internationally etc.
I agree that there may be certain people that should be prevented from travelling to Israel in advance. People that their entry to Israel is granted to be denied at the border, on solid and undisputed basis. The problem is, that the suggested amendment in its current wording, doesn’t limit the grounds over which the system of PIBA can reject a passenger from travelling. It also doesn’t limit the type of people that are subject to this pre-approval procedure.
In the video below is what I had to say on the topic
Here’s an English summary of what I said:
1. It was discussed to add an exemption to the amendment that would exclude citizens and residents from being subject to this pre-approval procedure. The rep of the ministry of Justice was talking only about permanent residents, while the legal consultor of the committee mentioned temporary residents as well. I opened my pitch by stating very clearly that this is not enough – as partners of Israelis in the gradual process are staying in Israel with a B1 status for long periods of time, and they too, should be exempted from this pre-approval procedure.
2. I mentioned that I think all visa holders, whose center of life is in Israel, should be exempted from the pre-approval procedure. I said that in my opinion, people who have a visa can should be allowed to go through normal border control, in Israel, without any additions. Despite the pre-approval procedure being automatic, and “harmless” – we all know that mistakes happen, and in my opinion, a boarding denial of a visa holder is unacceptable. If PIBA has any immigration issues with a visa holder, they should solve them on Israeli grounds (where legal help is more accessible, for example, and human mistakes can be solved with words on site).
3. I repeatedly mentioned that in case PIBA won’t agree to exempt all visa holders, partners of Israelis should be THE FIRST ones on the list of foreigners to be exempted, as any boarding denial of a partner (especially mistaken one), hurts the right to family, which is a recognized human right in Israel.
4. I mentioned that the existence of an inter-visa isn’t a “strong enough” criteria for exemption, as in some cases people are prevented from issuing an inter-visa on time. In my opinion the criteria for exemption should be the existence of a main visa (B1, A5 etc).
5. I said that in my opinion the cases in which boarding denial should be allowed, should be limited by law to a restricted list. If the cases aren’t restricted, this law may be an opening for PIBA to deny entry based on irrelevant basis – such as race, ethnicity, etc.
6. I mentioned that I also think partners of Israeli who AREN’T in the gradual process and who don’t have a legal status in Israel, should be exempted from this pre-approval procedure, if they are registered as married to Israeli in the population registry.
My full written opinion was sent to the committee, its staff and its members in advance. I hope these points will be heard, and I will do my best to push our interest on this subject.