The High Court ruled Wednesday after a four-year-long battle that Raisa Sakoboracov's identity card will list the Ukrainian immigrant as "Jewish" and not "without religion," as the Interior Ministry had designated her.
The decision, written by Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel, and Hanan Meltzer, shows that Sakboracov contacted a local court in the Ukraine in 1999 in order to change her mother's listing so that the mother would be declared a Jew. After hearing testimonies from many witnesses and viewing archive documents, the Ukrainian court declared that Sakboracov's mother, who came from Russia, a Jew.
A few months later, Sakboracov submitted a request to the Israeli Consulate for citizenship under the Law of Return and expressed her desire to settle in Israel. After presenting the necessary documentation, her request was accepted and she was listed as a Jew allowed to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.
In February 2004, Sakboracov son and daughter-in-law visited Israel. Following the visit, they, too, submitted an application for citizenship under the Law of Return.
Documents provide proof
Following their request, the documentation submitted by Sakboracov was examined. Suspicion arose that the birth certificate Sakboracov presented in order to be listed as a Jew is not credible. After inviting her in for a hearing, the Interior Ministry and the internal security minister decided to change the "nationality" listing on Sakboracov's identity card from "Jewish" to "without religion."
In response, Sakboracov appealed the decision in the High Court of Justice via Attorneys Raanan Carmon and Eitani Aharoni. Documentation showing that Sakboracov's grandfather and grandmother were listed as Jews and even were Partisans captured by the Nazis and brutally executed.
In February 2007, High Court judges issued a conditional order demanding that the interior minister and the internal security minister justify why they cast doubt on Sakboracov's Jewishness and why her nationality was changed on her identity card. In addition, the ministers were asked to explain why they were demanding that the son and daughter-in-law were being ordered to immediately leave the country, in opposition to the court's temporary stay order.
After hearing the claims of both sides, the court decided Wednesday that Sakboracov's status must be changed back to "Jew" both in the census registration and on her identity card. The judges ruled, "The over-inquisitiveness of the authenticity of her Jewishness, while burrowing through the family tree, which are in any case difficult to prove their precise accuracy, after many generations, was exaggerated, too rigid, and even insensitive at times."
The judges continued on to claim that the ministers' conduct aroused a sense that their activities "often bordered on an essential unreasonableness and lack of proportionality," especially in light o the fact that Sakboracov is the granddaughter of Partisans who fought the Nazis and were brutally murdered.