Uri. Stands to lose his family
Uri during his bar mitzvah

Ministry informs veteran olim they're 'not Jewish'

After 16 years in Israel, mother and daughter who immigrated to Israel as Jews face possible deportation after Interior Ministry claims documents proving their Jewish origins were forged

The Interior Ministry is seeking to revoke the citizenship of a family of immigrants from the former Soviet Union that have been living in the country for 16 years, claiming documents attesting to their Jewish origins have been falsified.


Irena, Marina and Uri (Yuri) – a grandmother, a mother and a son – emigrated from Georgia to Israel in 1991 and have been registered in the country as Jews ever since. Uri was circumcised, had a bar mitzvah, studied in a religious public school and served in the army.


However, when Irena and Marina recently applied for a passport renewal, the Interior Ministry informed then that their request could not be handled before inquiries into their legal status had been completed.


The ministry claimed that Irena's mother's birth certificate, which served the family to prove they were of Jewish descent upon arrival to Israel, had been forged, and that the family used "trickery and deception" in order to immigrate to the country.


'No way to prove document's authenticity'

"This is an ugly lie," Irena claimed. "I always knew I was Jewish. How can you tell people who've been saying all their lives, 'Next year in Jerusalem' they're not Jewish?"


Attorney Gadi Eizenman, who represents the family, said he planned to petition the High Court if Irena's or Marina's citizenship is revoked. "The family has no way of proving the authenticity of the document," he explained. "It's unacceptable to start questioning a family 16 years after it had arrived in the country and settled here."


The Interior Ministry stressed that Uri's status was not at risk, because he served in the army, but said that Irena and Marina should expect a revision of their status, which could lead to their possible deportation.


פרסום ראשון: 01.02.08, 15:54
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