I have printed Anat Hoffman’s most recent letter in the Israeli Religious Action Center’s weekly email “The Pluralist” because, if you are like me, this will enrage you and inspire you to do something. If so, then please sign the IRAC’s Petition and send this blog to your friends asking them to do the same.
Israel is planning to deport two of its own citizens. Two children, David (14) and Michal (8). Their crime? Their Israeli father died before their non-Jewish mother was naturalized as an Israeli citizen.
Their father, Gershon, spent several years working as an Israeli emissary in Uzbekistan, where he met and fell in love with Valentina. Their first-born son was named David, after Gershon’s father, a Holocaust survivor.
They moved back to Israel and lived near Gershon’s large extended family. Gershon filed the necessary paperwork for Valentina and David to obtain Israeli citizenship. As the bureaucratic wheels turned slowly, and while the couple was expecting their second child, Gershon was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Gershon’s illness claimed his life the following year, while Valentina, David, and the couple’s newborn daughter Michal were visiting in Uzbekistan. Gershon’s last wish was for Valentina to return to Israel and raise their children as Israelis.
However, soon after Gershon’s death, the Interior Ministry closed Valentina’s file (“non-Jewish widows are not entitled to citizenship”). In 2013, IRAC filed a petition to request temporary residency for Valentina. The response finally came last week. Even though David and Michal are recognized as Israeli citizens, Valentina was ordered to leave the country. Separating David and Michal from their mother would be unimaginable. So all three will have to leave Israel.
We have filed an urgent appeal with the Ministry of Justice, based on a precedent IRAC won in 2009, when we made history by proving in court that marriage continues after death. Our victory created the “widow procedure” which states that a non-Jewish spouse can continue his/her naturalization process (taking 5 years) after the death of the Israeli partner.
The appeal includes a letter from David and Michal’s 81-year old grandmother, asking to be allowed to live out the rest of her life surrounded by all of her grandchildren, and a letter from the children’s 16-year old half-sister who wrote: “My father served his country proudly, and his father barely survived the Holocaust. Why am I allowed to live in Israel but my brother and sister are not?”
David and Michal deserve to live in this country together with their mother and their entire extended family.
Help us fight for them at this critical point. Sign our petition to the Minister of the Interior to demand that this family be allowed to stay in Israel.
An avalanche of signatures can make the difference.
Click here to sign IRAC’s petition to the Minister of the Interior to demand that David, Michal and Valentina be allowed to stay in Israel together with their entire extended family.