Monday, 18 October 2010

Israeli Passport Renewal from Abroad

To Deserve an Israeli Passport:
One Must Maintain Continuous Contact with the State of Israel

If you are an Israeli citizen living abroad, you may find it pays to visit Israel once in a while.
This was the case of Mr. Shultz (the petitioner) against the Ministry of Interior of Israel (the respondent) in the Appeals Court in Jerusalem before the Honorable Judge Mr. Moshe Sobol.
The petitioner was born in Israel in 1954 but in the beginning of 1990 he left Israel using a foreign passport, never returning to Israel again.

The law stipulates that a person living outside Israel must register and present himself once a year in the Israeli Embassy at his place of dwelling abroad in order to be entitled to receive service from the Embassy/consulate. The alternative for this can be maintaining continuous contact with the State of Israel.

In 1999, the petitioner received a new Israeli passport in the Israeli Embassy in New York and 10 years passed until the validity of this passport ended in February 2009. When he attempted to renew his passport the Embassy refused to issue him a new passport. Thereafter he hired a lawyer in Israel who he had met in June 2009 with the help of a civil servant responsible for passports in the Ministry of Interior.

As a result of this meeting, the petitioner received a one-year extension of his passport in July 2009 issued at the Israeli Embassy in Switzerland in order to allow the petitioner to come to Israel and request a new passport here. The petitioner did not come to Israel but again asked for a new passport. He was denied but was offered a temporary travel pass valid for 6 months which he refused.

The petitioner claimed not to be able to come to Israel due to monetary limitations and family business. He also claimed his rights to travel freely were being limited against the basic laws of Israel and more: He claimed to be a donor to the state of Israel, his wife was constantly coming to Israel, one of his children served in the IDF and that he was never told on any occasion he should register himself at an Israeli Embassy abroad.

On October 18th the Honorable Judge decided in favor of the respondent and imposed a fine of 5,000 shekels on the petitioner.

The Judge, after hearing all the sides and examining the affidavits presented to him, decided that the petitioner did not comply with the law because of the detailed reasons as follows.

There was no proof whatsoever that the petitioner was a donor to Israel and he did not present any evidence of this. Concerning the fact that his son served in the IDF, the Judge stressed the fact of his son being 24 years old and had served in the army in the past and not presently. Not only this, but the petitioner left Israel when his son was only four years old, leaving him behind and had never come to visit him. About his claim concerning his wife coming constantly to Israel, the Judge pointed to the fact that the last time she visited Israel was 12 years ago.

The Judge did not accept any of the petitioner’s arguments concerning his monetary limitations and family business and in fact it was proven beyond any doubt that these arguments had no basis in reality.

Conclusion: If you are living abroad for many years and want to be entitled to receive all the services the State of Israel offers you in its Embassies and consulates around the world, you need to register and visit the Embassy once a year to re-register. The alternatives are as the law stipulates: “A constant and continuous contact with Israel.”

Pay a visit, keep property in Israel or even better - Come back and join us here.


  Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

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