A few days ago, we received a letter from a reader who is a Russian immigrant, involving the immigration issues surrounding his non Jewish wife. We are posting it here not because we advocate the cause of non Jews immigrating to Israel, but rather because we advocate consistency in immigration policy, so people, when they come here from foreign countries, get actual information that makes sense and doesn’t strand them without health insurance or any means of normal living.
Meaning this: If you, State of Israel, allow the immigration of non Jewish spouses to Israel, then allow it fully and cut the double talk. If you don’t, then don’t, but say this unequivocally. But don’t lure them here under the pretense that everything will be fine and then unload a trap. It’s embarrassing for a modern State to act this way.
The Office of the Interior Ministry has been known to make people cry like children for its zoo-like cacophonous horror of primordial discord, and here’s yet another illustration of it. It’s a wonder we’re able to win wars with a public administration like this.
This is a story that is happening with my family right now, it is unbelievably ridiculous but very true.
I made Aliyah a few months ago from Russia. I am Jewish on both sides of my family and my wife is Russian. In July 2009 I received all my documents and Isaeli permanent residency status without any questions or problems whatsoever. My wife, on the other, hand came one month after me, once I prepared everything for her arrival. At the consulate we were told that she could not get her visa before August 8th 2009, since we were married on August 8th 2008 and one year must pass before she can become an Israeli citizen.
So, after August 8th, my wife went to the consulate in Moscow and submitted her passport. Prior to this we presented all documentation required by the consulate for approval of our status as immigrants. We were told everything is fine and to prepare our new passports for visas, which of course we did.
After arriving in Ben Gurion Airport on the 17th of August, my wife presented her visa to the representatives of the ministry at the airport. Everything was fine and she was let into the country. On the 23rd of August we went to the Ministry of Interior to get her Israeli I.D.. This is when the fun began.
We were told that she must go to the visa section at the Ministry in order for them to review something and she was not issued an I.D., the persons at the visa section gave us a list of documents which must be presented in addition to what was presented already to the consulate. For instance a marriage certificate, certificate of no criminal offenses, pictures to prove that we live together, letters from relatives and a lot of other bull. This was all presented to the consulate in Moscow and they were satisfied. Otherwise they would not have issued the visas.
We were sent to the visa section at the Ministry of Interior immediately after my wife was asked if she was Jewish and what religion did she follow. Of course she answered that she is not Jewish and she did not ascribe to any religion.
I find the whole situation insulting. How is it possible that you get a visa to immigrate to a country, spend money, time, and great effort and when you think everything is finally done, you are told that because your wife is Russian she has to present a bunch of documents which no one told us she would need to present once in Israel? Now they are proposing to issue my wife a temporary visa status. She is not eligible for health insurance, she cannot take language courses, she cannot receive absorption compensation, and she cannot even have a bank account in Israel.
This is the most idiotic thing I have had to deal with in my life. Why issue an immigration visa for permanent residency if then once the person is in the country they are told that it was a mistake?!
Welcome to the Jewish State my friend. When you’re with a people who haven’t had one for 2,000 years, just know that things can get a bit rusty. Just watch out for tetanus on the rust.