Marriage between a foreign national who is not Jewish and Israeli citizen have become a common phenomenon in recent decades, in part because of the fact that hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals from different countries entered Israel.
It is difficult to regulate the status of foreign citizens who are in a romantic relationship with an Israeli citizen. The couple is able to choose one of two ways: The first is to make a statement in the Interior Ministry of Israel about cohabiting. The process should go through the appropriate permits for several years, and can lead to permanent resident status of foreign citizens in the future. The second way is civil marriage abroad, and after about five years starts the process of obtaining Israeli citizenship.
Sometimes in the middle of the process, the couple’s relationship fails and even accompanied by violence of the husband. In cases where the couple’s relationship was severed because of violence from the Israeli spouse, and the procedure was terminated by divorce or separation of the spouses, the foreign national spouse can apply for a status. His request is forwarded to the Commission for a status on humanitarian grounds, subject to compliance with certain conditions.
The legal situation
The basis of the normative framework for the granting of citizenship to a foreign national spouse is found in Section 7 to the Israeli citizenship law that allows the spouse of an Israeli citizen to obtain citizenship even without the conditions required for ordinary naturalization track. For the purpose of implementation of this provision, the Minister of the Interior ministry, as part of the discretion given to him, set a gradual procedure enshrined in the procedures of the Interior Ministry.
Under this procedure a number of parameters which justify the granting of citizenship at the end of the process are tested over several years, including stability and sincerity of the relationship, the existence of a center of life in Israel and the lack of security or criminal impediment.
The rationale behind this procedure is related to the preservation of the family unit and facilitating a foreign national who chose to tie his fate with an Israeli partner, in a way that will guarantee he will not have to choose between the spouse and residence in the country.
Where the marriage bond expires, this rationale expires anyway, and consequently, for the most part, the gradual procedure stops and the foreign spouse expelled from the country.
However, according to the discretion of the Interior Minister, there are certain exceptions to this rule in cases where the marriage bond expires due to divorce or death of the Israeli spouse, and under certain circumstances specified in the procedure for handling cessation of procedure regulating the status of spouses of Israelis. In addition, separate cases in which the relationship expired due to violence against the foreign spouse, where set in a separate procedure, which is the focus of this article.
This separate procedure provisions, detailing, among other things, preconditions under which the case will be forwarded for discussion in the Committee for Humanitarian Affairs. This Committee is authorized to recommend the granting of the status of the foreign spouse for a limited period, which after this period there will be a renewed discussion to examine the change in circumstances, or be examined foreign spouse’s request for permanent status in accordance with the Entry into Israel Law, 1952.
The procedure discriminate between cases of violence by Israeli spouse, where the couple have children, which in those cases there are easier terms to bring the case to examine by the humanitarian committee, and cases where the spouses does not have children, then it is required that the foreign spouse has completed a larger part of graduated procedure period, and the requirement to link the foreign spouse with their children is replaced with a requirement of proving a real connection to Israel, exceeding the applicant’s connection to his country of origin.
The creation of a separate procedure regulating the handling of cases where the marriage bond has expired due to violence of the Israeli spouse, indicates, according to judge Arbel, the formation of recognizing the existence of a public interest in encouraging victims of violence to leave their husbands who beats them and complain against them. The procedure also reflects a recognition that because of this public interest, there should be a balance different from the balance held in other cases where the connection has expired and regulated by the general procedure.
The procedure reflects a balance between the public interest in protecting the foreign spouse victimized by violence and the consideration whereby the granting of status in Israel was designed to allow the existence of the family unit. However, once expires the bond of marriage, we can say that the rationale of preserving the family unit does no longer exist, and therefor both in the general procedure and as part of the procedure for a spouse who has suffered from violence, are tested different considerations justifying the continuation of the graduated procedure, led by the cause for the expiry of the relationship and the connection of the foreign national seeking status to Israel.
The consideration underlies the procedure is to encourage women victims of their husband’s violence to complain about their actions and to leave a violent relationship. Legal development is made in recognition of the unique characteristics of such violent incidents, given the contrast between the woman’s expectation that her home will be her shelter, and her being a victim to serious damage to her body, dignity and security; Between the closed and intimate nature of the family unit, and the serious damage to a woman that our society is committed to defend her.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning Judge E. Rubinstein that noted that the obstacles standing in the way of every beaten woman and deprives her many times to complain and get out of abusive relationships, are stronger where the woman is not a resident of place and country. In other words, this procedure is intended to avoid a situation where women that are victims of violence will be afraid to complain lest would lose their rights to regulate their status in Israel.
Alongside this consideration, there are other considerations as mentioned, involving the existence of a legitimate expectation of the foreign spouse, usually the foreign female partner, which began the process of regulating her status.
This consideration can be found in the Seniority requirement, the elapsed time since the graduated procedure has started, before a case of violence from the spouse, which is a prerequisite before the discussion in the humanitarian committee.
The discretion given to the Interior Minister is widely applies especially to the provision of a visa or license exceptions for humanitarian reasons. Interior Minister vested with broad discretion to issue entry and settle of foreigners to Israel. This is a derivative of the accepted principle in modern democratic countries, whereby the state has a broad discretion to issue entry of foreigners into its territory, and the foreigner has no right to enter the country where he has no status, whether as a tourist or a resident. With this having stated, it should be remembered that this discretion is subject to review by a court as discretion of other authorities, as part of the standard audit grounds applicable to operating authority discretion.
Due to the broad discretion accorded to the Interior Minister when deciding whether the case before him meets the definition of “special humanitarian grounds”, most of the requests submitted consequently are being rejected, but the Interior Minister should use his discretion in good faith, based on practical considerations, equality, proportionality and reasonably. But mostly, “the interministerial committee for humanitarian affairs” competent to consider applications as such, claims that there are no special humanitarian criteria, and the common man has no ability to attack the decisions of the authorities, and therefore it is extremely important to have legal advice through an attorney.
One of the major considerations in this procedure is the consideration of connection to Israel and to the country of origin, which can naturally support the granting of status (where the link between the foreign spouse to Israel is greater) or its negation (where the connection to her country of origin is greater). Thus, for example, a foreign national woman who married Israeli spouse and consequently left her children, her friends and her job in her native country, but broke up with him a few weeks after her marriage, and still haven’t managed to integrate into Israeli society – as remaining significantly “foreign”, even if the cause of separation is the partner’s violence.
Practice Law Office of David Angel
As mentioned, most episodes separation of foreign national spouse from an Israeli spouse due to violence, that arrives to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Humanitarian Affairs, are complex and therefore many problems may occur when the inter-ministerial committee for humanitarian affairs is committed refuse to help the matter, to say the least, and sometimes even posing challenges. David Angel Law Firm has extensive experience in its dealings with “the inter-ministerial committee for humanitarian affairs”, and concerts all legal instances, including the Supreme Court of Justice.
David Angel law firm knows how to handle and deal with the various problems that arise while regulating the status of refugees, and have great successes in this field. Attorney David Angel handled hundreds of cases of “status arrangements for a spouse who parted due to violence”, both in the Interior Ministry and the courts. David Angel law firm deals with clients against the Immigration Department for over a decade and runs to get for its clients the same rights granted to them under the law.
David Angel law firm provides close support and representation against the Ministry of Population and Migration: helps to provide residence permit for special humanitarian cases, briefing and guidance before inter-ministerial discussions of the Committee for Humanitarian Affairs, briefing before the questioning of the inter-ministerial humanitarian affairs Committee, Briefing before making documents, preparation of documents, representation in the inter-ministerial humanitarian affairs committee, creative solutions to complex problems.