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A stateless 14 year old living with a foster family in East Jerusalem since his mother abandoned him at the age of two: following a long battle by HaMoked, the boy received temporary Israeli status

On October 16, 2001, a resident of the West Bank who was then a prisoner at Neve Tirzah Prison gave birth to a baby boy. At first, the boy was raised in prison by his mother, who was serving a sentence for stabbing her life partner. Upon her release, she returned with the baby to live with the same man. But shortly after, she abandoned her son, leaving him in the care of her partner, and ultimately, she disappeared without a trace. Despite her insistent assertions over time, a DNA test proved that her partner was not the child’s father.

The welfare authorities removed the child from the man’s care, and placed him with a foster family in East Jerusalem – the only family he has known since. His birth mother never contacted him and all attempts to trace her failed. The identity of his biological father has remained unknown and the boy’s contact with his mother’s former partner gradually grew weaker and ultimately ended.

In 2011, the foster parents asked HaMoked to help register the stateless child in the Israeli population registry. Under the law, registering a child in her/his parents' status is not an option for a foster family; and as the family did not adopt the child, HaMoked had to invest considerable efforts to prove this was indeed the child’s only family. Moreover, due to the unusual circumstances of his life, the foster family did not have a document proving the child’s birth.

After HaMoked contacted the welfare authorities several times, it was told that the child’s birth record was attended by failures that led to his being registered upon birth without a name and as the child of an Israeli citizen who was not his mother(!). HaMoked contacted his birth hospital, Assaf Harofeh, but it initially refused to cooperate and only delivered the notice of birth after significant time and effort on part of HaMoked. HaMoked thus revealed that the welfare authorities’ claim was correct – the notice of birth did in fact contain false details. It should be noted that the birth mother was a prisoner during childbirth, and was accompanied by prison guards when she was taken to hospital to give birth.

On August 5, 2013, having obtained all the missing documents, HaMoked applied to the interministerial committee to arrange for the boy permanent residency status. In its application, HaMoked delineated the unusual and complex life story of the boy, and stressed that should his application be refused, his human dignity would be fatefully harmed.

As no response arrived from the Population Authority for over a year, HaMoked filed an appeal to the Appeals Tribunal to instruct the committee to respond. At the same time, at HaMoked’s request, the Tribunal issued an interim order prohibiting the boy’s deportation until the Ministry of Interior decided his case.

On May 5, 2015, HaMoked received the decision of the interministerial committee, recommending that the juvenile be granted temporary status (visa type A/5) – this, after 14 years of statelessness. The Population Authority accepted the committee’s recommendation. After two years in temporary status, the youth may apply for permanent Israeli residency status. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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