Tel Aviv Family Court judge Alissa Miller has ruled that foreign citizens who entered Israel illegally are subject to Israeli court jurisdiction. The ruling set a precedent for cases involving the roughly 20,000 citizens of various African countries currently living in Israel, many of whom have or are seeking refugee status.
The case that reached Miller's court involved a man and woman from Eritrea. The pair entered Israel together in July 2007.
The woman filed suit claiming that the man was the father of her young child, and demanding that he pay child support. The man countered by arguing that Israel's courts had no jurisdiction in the case, since there were no Israeli citizens involved.
Judge Miller rejected the man's argument, saying, “The delivery of a summons to a person currently in Israel, even if his normal place of residence is outside Israel, is sufficient to grant the court jurisdiction.”
The man was ordered to pay child support to the woman until a DNA test could be performed to prove or disprove his paternity.