At the end of the hearing on HaMoked’s petition: the HCJ allowed the state to deport the widow of the assailant in the attack at the synagogue in Har Nof
Today, July 22, 2015, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) heard HaMoked’s petition against the decision of the Minister of Interior to deport from Israel the widow of one of the perpetrators of the attack at the Har Nof synagogue. The woman, originally from the OPT, had been undergoing family unification in Israel since 2009 and is the mother of three Israeli resident children – two boys aged six and three, and a girl aged four. About a week after the attack carried out by her husband, the Minister of Interior revoked the woman’s Israeli stay permit, and since then, she has been living under constant threat of deportation to the OPT.
HaMoked stressed that the Minister’s decision would directly result in the uprooting of the three innocent children from their home and familiar environment – since the mother would not leave her children behind – and their forcible transfer to the West Bank, in severe violation of their rights to family life and health. The resulting harm would be considerably exacerbated by the fact that two of the children suffer from chronic medical problems and require regular medical supervision and treatment. Consequently, argued HaMoked, the decision constitutes a severe breach of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the principles of human morality, and contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel has ratified and must uphold.
In addition, HaMoked pointed out the Minister of Interior’s improper use of the humanitarian mechanism, established to assist and enable persons in exceptional circumstances to live in Israel. The Minister had exploited the humanitarian committee to legitimate – hastily and without due consideration of the overall circumstances – a vindictive decision, which seeks nothing but collective punishment and intimidation. In so doing, the Minister had exercised his powers to promote and realize an extrinsic purpose, which is prohibited under the rules of administrative law. HaMoked added that in other cases of widows of permanent Israeli residents who were mothers of small children, the Minister had consistently allowed the women to continue living in Jerusalem pursuant to stay permits.
The state clung to its position that the Minister’s decision was reasonable and balanced, and as such, warranted no intervention.
At the end of the hearing, the court decided to delete the petition, citing an earlier ruling whereby “a foreign resident does not have a right to receive status in Israel by virtue of his children […]”. The court ignored HaMoked’s assertion that this was a deliberate act of revenge against the woman and her children for a crime they had not committed. The court also disregarded the expert opinion HaMoked had submitted concerning the children’s mental condition, which was fragile and difficult as it is.
In the hearing, the state objected to the solutions which were proposed as a last resort, in an effort to mitigate the severe harm to the mother and her children; thus, inter alia, the state refused to allow the woman to continue living in Jerusalem pursuant to a restricted permit of stay, limited to her area of residence. However, the state did guarantee that the children’s status as Israeli residents would not be harmed as a result of their anticipated relocation outside Israel. Moreover, the court endorsed in its judgment the state’s consent to “willingly” reconsider its position about several issues that might arise in future. Among them, the court listed the woman’s need to accompany her children on visits to relatives or for medical treatment inside Israel; the possibility that the woman herself might apply in time for a new Israel stay permit; and the question of the children’s health insurance entitlement if they joined their deported mother and stopped maintaining a center of life in Israel.
At HaMoked’s request, the state agreed to postpone the deportation until after the end of Id al-Adha in early October.