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High Court rejects petition by overseas Israeli families to admit their children

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The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a petition by thirty-six Israeli families abroad who — because they never registered their children with the state and lack Israeli passports for them — claim their kids have been unable to enter Israel due to more stringent border enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Israeli law requires all citizens to register children born abroad with the state within 30 days of birth. It further requires all citizens to enter the country on Israeli passports, although in practice, families like the petitioners routinely brought their children to Israel as tourists on foreign passports. This practice was curtailed in March 2020, when Israel first closed its borders to people without an Israeli passport because of coronavirus.

The petitioners claimed the 1952 Nationality Law automatically confers citizenship upon children of Israelis, whether or not known to the state, and that they should thus be admitted to the country like other citizens even if they don’t have Israeli passports.

The state, by contrast, argued to the court that Israelis must register their children in order to enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

Justice Yitzhak Amit noted that while the families are correct that their children are sufficiently Israeli for citizenship, the Interior Minister has the legal power to determine proof of citizenship, and that the proof it requires is registration with the Population and Immigration Authority.

Amit explained that the court........

© The Times of Israel

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