Non-Jewish aliens in Israel could turn into legal residents
after District Court Deputy President Judge Michal Rubinstein
gave the Interior Ministry four months to set the policy and
procedures for determining their residency status.
The court instructed the Interior Ministry to determine how
these individuals, who are not recognized by any country,
should be related to and how to ascertain whether they could
be returned to their respective countries of origin or
permitted to become Israeli residents.
The decision came in response to three petitions by stateless
children born in the former Soviet Union and represented by
an attorney from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel
(ACRI). Rubinstein also determined that the refusal to grant
the three petitioners work and residence permits violates the
Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom, but denied their
request to receive permanent residence status.
According to ACRI estimates, Israel has several hundred
stateless people who fall into three categories: residents of
east Jerusalem, Bedouins and residents of the former Soviet
Union who were not in their country when it splintered and
formed, and therefore did not receive citizenship. The three
petitioners have been staying in Israel illegally for over
ten years and have been under arrest for long periods until
it became apparent they could not be deported because their
respective countries of origin do not recognize them as
Interior Ministry Spokeswoman Savir Hadad said, "The Ministry
will of course follow the decision, but it should be noted
the court rejected the petitions to receive permanent
residence status immediately."