Children born abroad to East Jerusalemites whose residency status was revoked and later restored, may receive Jerusalem residency even if they turn 18 during their parent’s status restoration process המוקד להגנת הפרט عر HE wheel chair icon
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03.05.2022
Children born abroad to East Jerusalemites whose residency status was revoked and later restored, may receive Jerusalem residency even if they turn 18 during their parent’s status restoration process
Children born abroad to East Jerusalemites whose residency status was revoked and later restored, may receive Jerusalem residency even if they turn 18 during their parent’s status restoration process

Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were stripped of their permanent residency status – as part of Israel's longstanding policy known as the “quiet deportation” – and apply to the Ministry of Interior to regain their status, must undergo a procedure which lasts at least two years. Until their restoration request is decided upon, the Ministry of Interior gives them temporary status. However, their minor children who were born abroad receive only tourist visas (and even this, only following HaMoked’s demand), which do not afford them health services and social security rights. So long as their request is being processed, the parents cannot apply to legalize the status of their minor children. Only once they regain permanent residency status can they file a request to legalize the status of their children. Until recently, however, a child who turned 18 before their parent’s residency status was reinstated was no longer deemed entitled to receive residency, and would permanently remain without any Israeli status.

This state of affairs disproportionately and unjustifiably infringed on children’s best interest and on parents’ right to family life. HaMoked petitioned the Court, demanding that a child’s request for status be registered alongside their parent, or at the very least that they do not lose eligibility for residency status if they turn 18 while their parent’s request was still being processed.  

On February 7, 2021, the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs determined in HaMoked’s petition on this matter, that: “… there is indeed room to change the procedure” so that child registration requests be considered according to the child’s age on the submission date of the parent’s status restoration request. The judgment clarified that “the Respondents are to consider updating their procedures in this context”. However, inexplicably, despite accepting HaMoked’s claims regarding this remedy, the Court dismissed the petition in its entirety. HaMoked filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against this confusing judgement, demanding a ruling whereby the petition had been partially accepted rather than wholly rejected and that the Ministry of Interior be compelled to revise its procedures regarding the decisive date for determining the child’s age and therefore eligibility for residency status.

In its response to the petition, the State Attorney’s Office announced that a relevant instruction had been issued – without the procedure being amended – and that the appeal should therefore be deleted. Following HaMoked’s objection, the Court ruled on October 4, 2021, that the appeal should not be dismissed out of hand. On the following day, the State Attorney’s Office provided to HaMoked the Ministry of Interior instruction, dated July 19, 2021, according to which, among other things, “insofar as the child was a minor upon the applicant’s request for a license of permanent residency, but later reached adulthood, and the child registration request was submitted after the receipt of the permanent residency license, the child’s age would be examined according to their age on the submission date of the parent’s (applicant’s) request for a permanent residency license – that is the child will be considered as a minor. Therefore, the request will not be dismissed out of hand only because the child became an adult” (emphasis in the original).

HaMoked insisted the instruction should be incorporated into the procedure and also made public. The Court did not order publication in its judgement of May 2, 2022, however, it gave the State’s instruction the force of a judgment, and ruled the State must bear HaMoked’s legal fees in the sum of ILS 5,000.

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Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were stripped of their permanent residency status – as part of Israel's longstanding policy known as the “quiet deportation” – and apply to the Ministry of Interior to regain their status, must undergo a procedure which lasts at least two years. Until their restoration request is decided upon, the Ministry of Interior gives them temporary status. However, their minor children who were born abroad receive only tourist visas (and even this, only following HaMoked’s demand), which do not afford them health services and social security rights. So long as their request is being processed, the parents cannot apply to legalize the status of their minor children. Only once they regain permanent residency status can they file a request to legalize the status of their children. Until recently, however, a child who turned 18 before their parent’s residency status was reinstated was no longer deemed entitled to receive residency, and would permanently remain without any Israeli status.

This state of affairs disproportionately and unjustifiably infringed on children’s best interest and on parents’ right to family life. HaMoked petitioned the Court, demanding that a child’s request for status be registered alongside their parent, or at the very least that they do not lose eligibility for residency status if they turn 18 while their parent’s request was still being processed.  

On February 7, 2021, the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs determined in HaMoked’s petition on this matter, that: “… there is indeed room to change the procedure” so that child registration requests be considered according to the child’s age on the submission date of the parent’s status restoration request. The judgment clarified that “the Respondents are to consider updating their procedures in this context”. However, inexplicably, despite accepting HaMoked’s claims regarding this remedy, the Court dismissed the petition in its entirety. HaMoked filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against this confusing judgement, demanding a ruling whereby the petition had been partially accepted rather than wholly rejected and that the Ministry of Interior be compelled to revise its procedures regarding the decisive date for determining the child’s age and therefore eligibility for residency status.

In its response to the petition, the State Attorney’s Office announced that a relevant instruction had been issued – without the procedure being amended – and that the appeal should therefore be deleted. Following HaMoked’s objection, the Court ruled on October 4, 2021, that the appeal should not be dismissed out of hand. On the following day, the State Attorney’s Office provided to HaMoked the Ministry of Interior instruction, dated July 19, 2021, according to which, among other things, “insofar as the child was a minor upon the applicant’s request for a license of permanent residency, but later reached adulthood, and the child registration request was submitted after the receipt of the permanent residency license, the child’s age would be examined according to their age on the submission date of the parent’s (applicant’s) request for a permanent residency license – that is the child will be considered as a minor. Therefore, the request will not be dismissed out of hand only because the child became an adult” (emphasis in the original).

HaMoked insisted the instruction should be incorporated into the procedure and also made public. The Court did not order publication in its judgement of May 2, 2022, however, it gave the State’s instruction the force of a judgment, and ruled the State must bear HaMoked’s legal fees in the sum of ILS 5,000.

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