Chilean citizen deported instead of reuniting with soldier son
Decade after being deported for first time, Chilean citizen lands in Israel to reunite with his wife and two children, one of whom is soldier. Instead of a family reunion, he is detained for hours at airport, deported next morning due to lack of proof of paternity
Yoni (Jonathan) Rodriguez Janeis, an Israel Defense Forces soldier serving in the north, has not seen his father for more than 10 years. The father, Ismail Janeis, arrived Thursday from Chile in order to meet his family after many long years apart, but was detained for more than five hours at Ben-Gurion Airport and will be deported Friday.
Ismail originally came to Israel in 1987 together with his wife Lydia Rodriguez. They had two children in Israel. The oldest, Yoni, enlisted in the IDF about a year ago. Ismail was deported from Israel a decade ago because he was an illegal foreign worker. Ever since, he has kept in touch with the family via telephone and internet.
Lydia and the children were granted legal status in Israel in 2007.
Rodriguez family. Hoping for the best (Photo: Ofer Amram)
Lydia waited for hours with the kids in the airport without knowing why the authorities were not allowing the family to reunite finally after all these years. "The children were born here, and we have been here 22 years. I don't understand why the State isn't letting him enter," she said to Ynet.
The son, Yoni, who took leave from the army especially to meet his father at the airport, said to Ynet, "They haven't let my father enter Israel for more than five years already. I contribute to the country, and it is really strange that I can't see my father after so many years of telephone conversations and internet conversations."
'We really missed you'
The Interior Ministry reported that there is no indication that Janeis is indeed the father of the two children. However, a decision was made to delay his flight until the morning in order to provide the family time to present documentation to sort out his legal status.
"He is not listed as the father anywhere, and if the family intends to prove otherwise, they have the opportunity to do so from his son's country of origin on coordination with the required process here in Israel," the ministry reported.
"I am completely Israeli. I was born here, and this situation is very strange that the State is keeping me from my father," said the son. "I was 8 when dad was deported. My brother was 3. We really missed him, and I am just waiting for the moment he can be with us. We should have gotten off the plane at 4 pm, and we have been waiting for him here for hours," said Yoni.
Attorney Yael Katz Mastbaum, who is representing the family, said in a conversation with Ynet, "This is a problem over for families in which the children were granted legal status and their fathers were deported from Israel. There aren't a lot of families like this. The fathers are deported, and the mothers and children remain here without the financial capacity to visit their country of origin."
The Interior Ministry reported that Janeis was issued a deportation order in 1997, but only left the country three years later. Ever since, the ministry claims, the family never took any measures to prove his paternity.