American immigrant denied citizenship over Temple Mount visit

American oleh's citizenship application was denied over arrest on Temple Mount. Police have since closed case, problem solved.

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Israeli passport (illustrative)
Israeli passport (illustrative)
Flash 90

A resident of Jerusalem who applied for citizenship under the Law of Return, was stunned to find his citizenship application opposed by the Interior Ministry because he was previously arrested on the Temple Mount, an arrest for which he is currently suing the police, the Honenu legal organization reported.

A., a haredi Torah scholar from the US who has worked and and studied in Jerusalem for the past few years,and who married an Israeli woman and has Israeli children, was arrested two years ago, when he ascended the Temple Mount, on suspicion of interfering with a police officer and disturbing the peace on the Temple Mount. A. was represented in court by a lawyer from the legal aid group, Honenu, which argued that he had been arrested without cause and demanded that he be released unconditionally.

Attorney Menashe Yaddo of Honenu also filed a lawsuit on behalf of A. for 'unlawful arrest and search.' The suit is currently being heard by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

However, when A. submitted his application for citizenship, he was told that because of the arrest and the case he is not eligible to receive Israeli citizenship. He said that in addition to preventing him from being able to settle in Israel permanently, the Interior Ministry also stopped granting him visas, which caused the termination of the social benefits he received from the National Insurance Institute, tax reductions, the ability to obtain scholarships, and more.

Menashe Yaddo has demanded that the Interior Ministry reverse its decision. Attorney Rehavia Pilz also demanded that the police close the case against A., which the police have announced they are doing.

In recent days the Interior Ministry has informed A. that his visa has been renewed that that his eligibility for citizenship has been reinstated. He now expects to receive his citizenship identity card soon.

"This case was Kafkaesque, where a new immigrant who made his home in Israel was stopped [from becoming a citizen] because of a false arrest, which even the court determined [to have been groundless]. But the Interior Ministry denied his visa and prevented his receiving citizenship under the Law of Return, as well as [his receiving] social benefits," Yaddo said. "We are pleased with the cooperation from several sources who managed to remove this disgrace from the agenda, and my client will be able to obtain citizenship as a Jew and return to his country and his homeland."