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19.12.2007

Following a petition by human rights organizations, the court orders the Ministry of Interior to publish its procedures within 30 days and rules that the ministry has been violating the law for years: The petitioners claim the procedures are concealed from the public, the Knesset and the courts; are often changed; and sometimes are not even known to the officials responsible for implementing them

On 31 May 2007, five human rights organizations, including HaMoked, filed a petition emphasizing the importance of publishing the procedures, in view of the fact that the Population Administration in the Ministry of Interior is a powerful body empowered to realize the most basic rights and liberties of persons present in Israel. The officials of the Population Administration issue identity cards and passports and are authorized to provide persons who are not Israeli citizens with an entry visa and permission to be present in the country. They are also authorized to establish conditions for the granting of status in Israel; to withdraw status after it has been granted; to order the deportation of individuals from Israel; and to order detention in custody pending deportation. 

The Ministry of Interior claimed that its procedures are published on the internet. However, the “publication” on the website of the Ministry of Interior does not constitute publication in accordance with the provisions of the law. Many procedures are not published at all (such as the procedure for regulating the status in Israel of the children of residents). Those procedures that are “published” appear in partial form, and are therefore misleading (an example is the procedure for nullifying Israeli citizenship). Moreover, “published” procedures are not updated (for example – the procedure for regulating the status of elderly parents of Israeli citizens). Moreover, two important components in the collection of procedures are the instructions of the Legal Bureau of the Ministry of Interior and the guidelines of senior ministry officials. These instructions and guidelines are not published, despite the fact that they constitute procedures used for the operation of the Population Administration (for example, the instruction defining the criteria for the granting of permanent residency in Israel). 

On 5 December 2007 the District Court accepted all the sections of the petition filed by the organizations. The court ruled that over many years the Ministry of Interior has been in violation of the law and has acted improperly. The court established that the fateful consequences of the decisions of the Ministry of Interior for the lives of the citizens and residents of the state underscores the need to publish the procedures clearly and immediately. Accordingly, the full and updated procedures should be made available for public review in every office of the Ministry of Interior. The procedures should also be published on the website. 

Ruling of 5 December 2007

Petition of 31 May 2007 (Hebrew)

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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