Israel: Follow-up to ISR42896.E of 17 August 2004 on mixed-marriage couples and families (particularly of an Arab husband and a Jewish wife); reports of such couples being targeted by Orthodox Jewish groups or any difficulties they may face; protection and recourse available
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||12 October 2004|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ISR43028.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Israel: Follow-up to ISR42896.E of 17 August 2004 on mixed-marriage couples and families (particularly of an Arab husband and a Jewish wife); reports of such couples being targeted by Orthodox Jewish groups or any difficulties they may face; protection and recourse available , 12 October 2004, ISR43028.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df61132.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
In 17 August 2004 correspondence, the Executive Director of New Family, The Organization for the Advancement of Family Rights, provided the following information:
Since its founding in 1998, New Family has assisted approximately 10,000 people through its Legal Aid and Resource Center, including mixed Israeli-Palestinian couples. While unable to provide specific data on the number of such couples, the Director estimated that in recent years the organization has helped approximately 100 such couples, and places the total number of mixed Israeli-Palestinian couples living on both sides of the Green Line (dividing Israeli and Palestinian-Authority territory) at between 150 and 250. The Director noted a variety of circumstances that brought the couples together: for example, discussion groups between Israelis and Palestinians in the wake of the Oslo Accords, or Israelis and Palestinians working in Israel, often in the hospitality industry. According to the Executive Director, "[i]n almost all cases, the couple was criticized or ostracized by their respective families and lost all financial and social support."
The Executive Director stated that the greatest challenge facing these couples did not come from Orthodox Jewish groups (by which New Family was unaware of any incidents) but rather from the legal status of the Palestinian partner. Since 2002, the Israeli government has refused to grant legal status to non-Israeli Palestinians in Israel because, according to the Executive Director, of a the increasing instance of marriages between Israeli Arabs and non-Israeli Palestinians. One consequence of this refusal is that since the government does not recognize interfaith marriages performed in Israel, mixed Israeli-Arab and Palestinian couples who go abroad to marry will face a situation in which the Palestinian is not entitled to receive the necessary legal documents upon attempts to return to Israel.
In addition to legal problems, Israeli-Palestinian couples must often deal with economic and social difficulties. Such difficulties include the inability of a Palestinian to work and support his or her family in Israel because of illegal status, rejection by Israeli society, the need to hide from authorities and movement restrictions (including "house arrest or frequent police checks"). According to the Executive Director, "[r]ejected by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, [mixed Israeli-Palestinian couples] face a bleak future of legal limbo and economic hardship for themselves as well as their children."
When asked whether mixed-marriage couples had recourse to protection in Israel, the Executive Director stated that while New Family has represented mixed-marriage couples in the past, "at present they have no legal recourse and their legal status is in limbo."
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection.
New Family. 17 August 2004. Correspondence from Executive Director.