Israel’s Interior Ministry denied the immigration request of a rabbi from the United States who was convicted of sexually assaulting his pupils, the ministry announced Tuesday.
However, Rabbi Baruch Lanner will be able to remain in Israel for almost a year after being granted temporary residency status earlier this month.
“The interior minister [Ayelet Shaked] clarified this morning that in light of his grave actions, she has no intention of approving his request to receive citizenship after the temporary residency visa he has expires,” a spokesperson for the ministry’s Immigration and Population Authority said.
Baruch Lanner was convicted in 2002 of sexually, physically, and emotionally abusing two teenage girls, both students at the Hillel Yeshiva High School in New Jersey, where he served as principal.
Dozens of other victims subsequently accused him over the years, but their allegations were not included in the indictments against him.
Lanner was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released on parole after three years in early 2008.
According to the ministry, the decision to grant the disgraced rabbi temporary residency status was made by former interior minister Aryeh Deri, who also denied Lanner citizenship “in light of his criminal past.”
Shaked’s decision came after widespread criticism from Israelis and American Jews alike over the decision to grant Lanner temporary residency in Israel.
The Law of Return — which grants Jewish people the right to citizenship in Israel — stipulates that the Interior Ministry has the right to deny citizenship to certain individuals, including those with criminal records.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.